This isn’t part of the new series, but I had to put it up. This article was brought to my attention. I will comment on it below.
First Jell-O, now Santa
OAK LAWN | School district considers banning traditions seen as offensive to Muslims
September 28, 2007
So long, Halloween parade. Farewell, Santa’s gift shop.
The holiday traditions are facing elimination in some Oak Lawn schools this year after complaints that the activities are offensive, particularly to Muslim students.
Final decisions on which of the festivities will be axed will fall to the principals at each of Ridgeland School District 122’s five schools, Supt. Tom Smyth said.
Parents expect that the announcement is going to add to the tension that has been building since officials agreed earlier this month to change the lunch menu to exclude items containing pork to accommodate Muslim students. News that Jell-O was struck from the menu caused such a stir that officials have agreed to bring it back. Gelatin is often made with tissue or bones of pigs or other animals.
That controversy now appears to have been been dwarfed by the holiday debate, which became so acrimonious Wednesday that police were called to Columbus Manor School to intervene in a shouting match among parents.
“It’s difficult when you change the school’s culture,” said Columbus Manor Principal Sandy Robertson.
Elizabeth Zahdan, a mother of three District 122 students, says she took her concerns to the school board this month, not because she wanted to do away with the traditions, but rather to make them more inclusive. “I only wanted them modified to represent everyone,” she said.
Nixing them isn’t the response she was looking for. “Now the kids are not being educated about other people,” she said.
There’s just not time in the six-hour school day to celebrate every holiday, said Smyth, who sent the message to principals that they need to “tone down” the activities that he sees as eating too much into instructional time. “We have to think about our purpose,” Smyth said. “Are we about teaching reading, writing and math or for parties or fund-raising during the day?”
Robertson is hoping to strike compromises that will keep traditions alive and be culturally acceptable to all students — nearly half of whom are of Arab descent at Columbus Manor, she says. Fewer than a third of students district wide are of Arab descent, according to Smyth.
Following the example of Lieb Elementary School, Columbus Manor School will exchange the annual Halloween parade for a fall festival next month. The holiday gift bazaars at both schools also will remain, but they’ll likely be moved to the PTA-sponsored after-school winter festival. And Santa’s annual visit probably will be on a Saturday.
I have seen some really stupid things going on in our public schools of late, and I am getting really sick of it. For instance, doing away with kick ball, we can’t have any of our kids getting hurt now can we.
First let me say, I think that different religions should be accommodated to a certain degree. There should be options in food choice for Jewish and Muslim students. The same way that peanuts have been removed in order to keep allergic students safe. But, you can’t discriminate against other students either. If the school in question can’t provide different food choices, then students with special food requirements can bring a bag lunch.
We have seen all kinds of things REMOVED, from the public square because of the ACLU’s war on Christmas. God forbid we have a nativity scene ANYWHERE. But it’s alright to have Muslim stuff or Jewish stuff. How is that any different than Christian stuff??
In my humble opinion, it should be all inclusive or nothing. It seems we have gone with a knee-jerk reaction. We are so concerned with showing understanding to one religion that we have omitted every other religion and I don’t think its right.
And to my Muslim readers, before you jump down my throat, you know I have done my best to be inclusive here. And to show that all Muslims do not believe in the terrorist ideology.
We, or they, (the schools amongst others), have gone so politically correct, that it has become ridiculous. A lot of Christian parents don’t like Halloween, but never tried to change the schools decoration or celebration. Same with the Easter bunny, which has absolutely nothing to do with Easter, I have no clue where it even came from.
I can tell you this…Many Christian parents have decided to either home school or place their kids in private Christian schools. INSTEAD, of calling on every school to meet their needs in regards to their religion. Some are trying to revisit prayer in school. Many see the failure of our kids, to be directly associated with removing prayer from school. And as far as what I believe, I have to agree.
There are many other things that have been removed from school which I find beyond explanation. When I was a kid we said the pledge of allegiance everyday. We were taught many patriotic songs that we sang on a daily basis. Patriotism was a big thing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think that is something that is being taught in our schools anymore.
What is wrong with teaching our kids to be proud of their country?? What is wrong with teaching our children the 10 Commandments?? What is wrong with teaching our children the reason for the season??
We should be sensitive to other people’s religion and needs, but not at the cost of everyone else. If we can’t include every religion, we shouldn’t be including any. It’s the basic principle of fair play.
I’m sure that there will be people who are not understanding what I am trying to say here. It has been my experience so far, that everyone reads with their own personal beliefs in mind, then they see something different than what I am saying.
This country was founded and developed under Judeo/Christian beliefs. I’m sure you have heard that plenty, especially around Christmas. If you pay attention to the news, you can plainly see that there IS a war on Christmas. Based on the fact that we were/are a Christian/Judeo nation…that should be consideration when it comes to Christmas. I for one, am really sick of ‘politically correct’.
It is things like the article above that makes people prejudiced against Islam in general. And you can see what I think of it. When you look at nations that were/are based on being founded and developed under Islam, its plain to see how they base their schools and holidays. Even though we are America and based on freedom and freedom of religion. Why do we need to change what our country was based on, when Muslim country’s don’t??
I would like to ask our Muslim Americans their opinion on this.