'Merica Day ban at Fort Collins High School draws protestors; Administrators agree to America Day

FORT COLLINS, Colo. - After protests, Fort Collins High School has agreed to hold an "America Day" next week.

The student council proposed having a 'Merica Day during Spirit Week next week. The students said the idea was to show support for their country.

However, school officials told 7NEWS that 'Merica had negative connotations, so they nixed that idea.

"When students first proposed Merica Monday, building administrators felt that it was against this unifying theme and disrespectful to our country," Poudre School officials said in a statement. "Merica is a slang term that is often used in a negative, stereotypical way to describe life in the United States. This is what led administrators to discuss alternatives with students."

UrbanDictionary.com defined 'Merica as a "hick" phrase meaning "If you don't like they way things are here in Merica then you can git out."

On Tuesday, school officials said they will allow "America Day."

"I am thrilled that that Fort Collins High School is moving forward with America Day!," said Rep. Scott Polis, D- Colorado. "A day to celebrate our country and our patriotism should be welcome at any school."

Several protestors with U.S. flags were outside the school on Tuesday morning. Fort Collins High School has an open campus, so several students joined the protest off and on throughout the morning.

Community member Jeff Jensen told 7NEWS that Facebook lit up Tuesday morning with what's going on at the school.

"We are here to support the kids and let them know we support them in 'Merica Monday," Jensen said. "They didn’t want to offend anyone with 'Merica Monday … and I think they’ve offended a lot of people."

Jensen said he believes the district woke a sleeping giant.

"Monday morning at 7, we’re going to be out here. Our goal is to surround the school with 5,000 flags and welcome these kids to school on 'Merica Monday -- to show them that it does mean something in this country to be a flag waving American. I think the decision that was made, the [school's] reasoning behind the decision, is absolutely ridiculous," said Jensen.

Fort Collins High School senior Christian Meyer said the student council suggested the 'Merica Monday idea to kickoff "Spread the Love Week" around Valentine's Day.

"Spirit day on Monday was to be called ‘Merica Monday -- playing fun on the whole 'Merica kind of tough America patriotism thing," said Meyer. "The administration didn't think it was inclusive to all students since we have a large amount of foreign exchange students … there's a big backlash."

Meyer said it's really kind of gotten out of control.

"We have people out here protesting -- it's a little crazy. Most of my friends and I, we're mainly kind of sitting back and just watching this unfold. It's real interesting because we don't have too strong of an opinion on it. We think it's a little bit political correctness on one side, and a little bit out of control patriotism on the other," he said.

Fort Collins sophomore Jason Dunn said he feels that his rights are being taken away as a U.S. citizen.

"A win is them allowing us to celebrate the days that we want because that's what I call freedom of speech. If people want to celebrate 'Merica Day, they should. If people want to celebrate Britain Day, they should. If people want to celebrate gay marriage, then they should. I'm not saying I agree with all of them but if they want to, they should," said Dunn.

7NEWS has a crew at the school and will have more on 7NEWS at 5 p.m.

The entire statement from Poudre School District issued Tuesday:

We regret that the recent decision regarding My Country Monday was viewed as not patriotic. This could not be further from the truth. The original intent of Spirit Week at Fort Collins High School was to unify the student body.

When students first proposed Merica Monday, building administrators felt that it was against this unifying theme and disrespectful to our country. Merica is a slang term that is often used in a negative, stereotypical way to describe life in the United States. This is what led administrators to discuss alternatives with students.

We were surprised that our community interpreted these actions as anti-American. Fort Collins High School is a proud public school in America and supports many activities to celebrate this great nation. Due to this outpouring of sentiment and misinterpretation of intentions, school administrators have decided to rename the first day of Spirit Week America Day as opposed to Merica Day.

We look forward to enjoying the creativity and energy of FCHS students as they celebrate their patriotism next week.

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