Pembroke Pines, FL – A group of Coconut Palm Elementary School children thought they were going on a fun fieldtrip to show their respect for 9/11 victims at a local Walmart, but the little songbirds were escorted from the property by police officers. Principal Terri Thelmas, 75 students, and some parents had permission to sing a one-minute version of “God Bless America” on Wednesday to honor those who died in the terror attacks, according to CBS Miami.
The group arrived at the Walmart store around 7 pm to showcase their vocal skills when the on-duty manager reportedly told them they could not sing the patriotic tune because they were a “liability.” A week earlier, a different manager had given permission for the visit, The Blaze reports.
Although the elementary students were a bit disappointed, they decided not to give up on their goal of remembering the fallen and went outside of the building to begin their rendition of “God Bless America.” Apparently, the on-duty manager at the Pembroke Pines department store was still not satisfied that the threat of a liability was eliminated and called the police to remove the children from the premises.
Principal Thelmas shared her sheer disbelief about the incident with CBS Miami. She was reportedly baffled that Walmart was more concerned with potential liability lawsuits than exercising a commitment to the community on a day which supposed to embody reflection and patriotism.
Walmart issued the following apology:
“We regret this happened and apologize to the students, parents and the school for this experience. Unfortunately, this is a situation of miscommunication and should have been handled differently. We are inviting the kids back to the store to honor the victims and fallen heroes.