A kindergarten concert in Perry, Iowa is making national headlines after a man repeatedly chanted "USA, English Only" at the school event before being escorted out. The video of the incident at the Perry Performing Arts Center was sent to local station KCCI.
"I think he's giving the wrong idea to the kids, you know, about more bullying in the schools," said Juan Jose Ordonez to KCCI reporter Vanessa Peng about the man's outburst at the concert last Thursday. Ordonez, who sent the video shot by his nephew to the TV station, said the incident was like "a hate crime." He added he wanted to make sure "somebody knows what's going on in Perry and maybe they stop."
Iowa has seen a large increased in its Hispanic population. The Des Moines Register reports Perry, Iowa's kindergarten class was approximately 50 percent Latino in the last school year (2013-14). By contrast, only 1 percent of Perry residents were Hispanic in 1990.
Sarah Benedict, the mother of one of the children in the concert, told KCCI "I've never heard anything like that - it just hurt me really bad." There were "boos" from the audience when the man, who has not been identified, shouted his remarks after an introduction to the concert in English was followed by Spanish remarks.
The Des Moines Register reported that Perry schools superintendent M. Lynn Uben praised the school staff in an e-mail for a "quick and appropriate response to an unfortunate disruption."