.

Schools around the Country Ban Charlie Brown, Nativity Scenes and Poinsettias ... Really, Poinsettias?

First, schools banned Halloween. Now a class outing to see a church performance of "A Charlie Brown Christmas" could be nixed as well. Have schools taken things too far when it comes to "anti-Christmas" activities?

“A Charlie Brown Christmas” has been a holiday TV classic for years. So when students at Terry Elementary School in Little Rock, Ark., were invited on a class field trip to see a performance of the show this December, they were excited. But their excitement was quickly quenched when a parent complained — an atheist group got wind of the outing and called it a “violation of religious freedom” because it contains some religious content and will be performed at a church.

The school sent a letter home to the parents detailing the field trip and letting them know that it did, indeed, contain a small amount of religious content, but that any child who wished not to go could be exempt from attending. The outing also included a food drive for area food pantries, which parents hope students will not miss out on if the outing is cancelled.

Do you know of any Christmas-related activities that have been changed or cancelled in your child's school in Barrow County? If so, tell us about it in the comments section below. 

Schools around the nation have dealt with similar anti-Christmas sentiments. In Alabama, a group of 5- to 7-year-olds were asked not to sing “Silent Night” in their Christmas program because it was considered “unconstitutional.” The school overrode the complaint and students will be allowed to perform as planned. But in Davis, Cal., students at Emerson Junior High encountered a different outcome when the play they planned to perform, Charles Dickens’ “ A Christmas Carol,” was banned because of — you guessed it — the word “Christmas.”

The list goes on. In 2011 in Stockton, the school district warned teachers not to put up any poinsettias, Christmas trees or other decorations that would be considered festive, just to make sure they did not offend anyone.

Contrast these times with the 1950s, when many kids performed in nativity plays at school, complete with Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus in the manger. Now, in places such as Santa Monica, the mere sight of a nativity scene on public property is reason for outcry. In an age of “over-political correctness” have schools and cities taken things too far and taken the fun and meaning out of a holiday that’s been celebrated worldwide for years and years?

“We still talk about Kwanza, Hanukkah, Ramadan and the pagan celebration of winter solstice,” one blogger mom wrote. “I have no problem with exposing my children to those cultural holidays, but in fairness, shouldn’t we be able to discuss the origins of Christmas as well?”

Surprisingly, a Rasmussen Reports national television survey showed that 68 percent of most Americans still preferred the traditional greeting of “Merry Christmas” during the season. Yet most store employees and schoolteachers have been required to now use the less offensive “Happy Holidays” approach. A Christmas break is no longer called such at most schools; it is referred to as a holiday or winter break, merely due to the religious implications of the word. So are we really so offended after all?

I believe in God and celebrate Christmas with my family, yet I respect others’ views as well. However, I have yet to meet one person in my entire life who was offended by a poinsettia, a nativity scene, a Christmas cookie or — Heaven forbid — Santa Claus himself! For some reason, I can’t picture a 6-year-old child growing horrified upon seeing a wreath on his teacher’s door. It seems a shame that we’ve taken not just the “Christmas” but the “Merry” out of so much of this special holiday season because of a few Grinches who insist on spoiling the fun for the kids.

Interestingly, no one seemed too “offended” with Black Friday shopping this year, as they piled their carts high with bargain brand named clothes, electronics and must-have toys. And no one yet has complained about the fact that Christmas is a federal holiday for all employees. Perhaps if we were being truly politically correct we should re-open the post office and send kids to school Dec. 25.

I’m being facetious, of course.

Parents, what do you think? Do you think schools should celebrate Christmas in the classrooms? And what of the schools that have banned certain plays, songs, decorations and activities? Do you think they’ve taken things too far, or do you think they’ve done the right thing? We want to hear from you, so post a comment below. 

Subscribe to Barrow Patch’s newsletters, follow us on Twitter and “like” us on Facebook.

Michael Robinson December 06, 2012 at 05:36 PM
I'll never understand why people want to ban co-opted pagan rituals in public places. It hurts no one to enjoy the festivities and let some people believe there's a magic behind it unique to their belief system. The spread of religious extremism won't be fought by keeping moderates from having a good time. Of course, I'll still say "happy holidays." I like being inclusive. :)
Grant December 06, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Imagine the poutrage if the field trip was a government sponsored trip to a mosque ... Why is this hard to understand? State sponsored religion is clearly forbidden so the state sponsoring a trip to a church to see a play whose central message is quoted directly from a religious text is not allowed... The snowflakes are free to enjoy the play on their own time
Michael Robinson December 06, 2012 at 07:12 PM
A field trip to a mosque? Sure. It's always good to see kids exposed to the diversity of our world's cultures.
Linda Richards December 07, 2012 at 05:09 PM
People face it, there IS a war on Christianity. And if you think it can't or won't happen here, you are sadly mistaken. Ask the people in the small town of Marion, N.C. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z99L6z-DvkE
Michael Robinson December 08, 2012 at 04:07 PM
From an article on the subject: "But a member of the community reportedly complained that the fact that a poem to be read at a public ceremony mentions God portrays the school as endorsing a particular religious view above others and thus, may be offensive to people with different views." You'll find intolerant jerks in any crowd. This is true of both atheists and religious people. This isn't any different from the uproar any time a group of Muslims tries to build a mosque in their community.
Parker Bostwick December 29, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Read the preamble of any state constitution, and then try to convince me we are not a Christian nation. I am not tolerant of other religions, including atheism, because I don't have to be - I'm an American.
Karen January 17, 2013 at 06:25 PM
If a school has a field trip and it has something to do with religion if i am not mistaken permission slips are sent home with the children,if the parents to not want their child to attend then check no!!! and be done with it! why make a big deal about it with the school? Just let it be!

Boards

More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something