Thursday, December 27, 2018

Principal's Suggestion Box #17

These letters are absolutely fictional (to protect the innocent and not-so-innocent.) But, with the hint of truth, maybe we can make some adjustments. Principals have the best chance to do that.

Dear Principal,

I wish to apologize to you, the school, and the parents (and the District, if necessary). I didn't mean to be controversial or inconsiderate. I just didn't know that saying, "Some families believe in Santa, and some do not," would cause so much trouble to Fifth Graders.

I respect the right of every person to believe what they choose. I promise not to mention Santa ever again.

If there is any other form of apology I have to make to keep my job, please let me know. 

Yours Truly,
Chagrined Teacher  

The Santa controversy

Expelling Santa from school? Holiday observance in a politically correct age 

My Jewish child was asked to wear a Santa hat at school. Should I care?

My two bits worth: I generally talk like a lawyer when teaching in a public school. Just to be politically correct, plus to not hurt the kids' feelings. Some people believe (fill in the blank), some people don't. Teacher may not know (nor does she need to) the religious or non-religious background of the students or staff. Do I have a right to say, "Merry Christmas?" I believe so, because I intend the positive. Is believing in Santa a religious right? I don't think so, any more than the Tooth Fairy. Do I feel obligated to tell kids 'the truth' about Santa or the Tooth Fairy? No, the Tooth Fairy is especially sacred. Some schools create inclusive winter holidays, with Hannukah, Kwanza, Christmas, etc., but draw the line at Islam. And definitely won't allow Satanism. How to choose? It's up to the principal and District, but there must be a fair, just way to acknowledge the kids' customs in your school.  Some schools have a Peace Program.

And, by the way, Santa--like love and generosity-- comes in all races, colors, customs, and diversity.

Jahleel Logan, 3, poses with Santa, a.k.a. Langston Patterson, 78, of Rudolph Holiday Photo, at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza. (Jay L. Clendenin / Los Angeles Times)

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