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what are the laws for Xmas in public schools? - Page 2

post #21 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by je309 View Post
. I guess I have just never understood having to change things to benefit one child when the majority of kids know what Santa is and do the whole Santa, Christmas tree thing at home. They have taken the "religious" items out of public schools as another poster stated. Do you take her out in public this time of year? The Salvation Army bell ringers wear Santa hats, there are Christmas trees in grocery stores, malls, department stores, etc. Your neighbors probably have lights up on their homes, reindeer in their front yards, etc.

.
The bolding is mine. I would gently suggest that it is time to understand.
post #22 of 101
Would you then like to gently understand how I would like my child to be able to sing Jingle Bells and Here comes Santa Clause at school if that is part of the "holiday" program? I am not in any way against any other holiday traditions being banished. I believe that they should all be incorporated and in our school plenty are. If you would like your traditions or believes incorporated into the classroom, why not ask that they are included? Why should your desire of banishing everything outweigh my desire to include them all?
post #23 of 101
I personally believe that the schools are more than capable of keeping things completely nonreligious during the winter season. Make snowmen and snowflake crafts. Sing Winter Wonderland. Incorporating Christmas crafts and songs, especially to the neglect of other religious traditions, is non-inclusive and potentially damaging to the children who don't celebrate those things and end up feeling like outsiders.
post #24 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
Of course Santa is a Christmas symbol! Maybe popularized, and maybe secularized, but definitely Christmas.
Christmas, yes. Christian, no.

Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
I'm sure a lot of Christians hate how Christmas has turned into a marketing frenzy.
Count me as one.
post #25 of 101
Our school stays strictly secular when it comes to Christmas. They are having a canned food drive and a pizza party to celebrate.
post #26 of 101
If you don't mind me asking...what is your religion?
post #27 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jeliphish View Post
If you don't mind me asking...what is your religion?
Im sorry- I do mind you asking
post #28 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by organicfarmerswife View Post
Im sorry- I do mind you asking
Interesting attitude.
post #29 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by supervee View Post
The First Amendment doesn't protect the majority; you don't need a law to protect what everybody wants... it's to protect the minority--that one child.
:

Christmas is a Christain holiday, period. Therefore anything associated with Christmas, becomes a de facto Christain symbol, i.e trees, santa, reindeer, etc... Any argument to the contrary is a rationalization so people can do what they want and not feel bad about offending those who have different religious traditions or no religion at all. I am frankly sick of "compulsory Christianity" in this culture. I feel terrible for those children who are made to feel different in the school where they should be welcomed and treated equally. Too bad most people and those who work in schools can't recognize their own bias. It is at the expense of children.
post #30 of 101
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your very honest replies. I realize my expectations were too high and at least I know now what other parents in the school may be feeling/thinking.
*Please take note that being in the majority is a really easy place to be and please try to imagine how it would feel for your child to be in the minority. Children so want to belong.

I have talked to the teacher about it and he agrees that we should bring other religious traditions/holidays into the classroom ("long over due") to balance it out. He is having the principal call me this afternoon.
I love email!
post #31 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Interesting attitude.
Im just wondering what difference it would make to know?
post #32 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
We don't celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. We are not Christian. We treat as we do Halloween (and we are not pagan either) and 4th of July. It's just another holiday. When you attach so much importance to making your own adult point, the kids kind of get lost in the cause. Just let it be.
Same here. Not Christian, but trying to get the tree lights to work.

Christmas is a cultural holiday -- unless the family makes it something more. If you don't want to "do" Christmas as a cultural holiday to make at point to your child, that's fine. I know several Christian families who don't "do" Halloween. It's a family choice. However, deciding to opt out of the larger culture tends to cause some sense of isolation. Some people think that is a good thing, some don't.

But Santas, trees, etc. are just cultural, and part of going to a public school is being part of the larger culture. Your child isn't going to hear about or sing about baby Jesus at school. That is where the line it. It is very strong line. That's where it would be prostelizing (sp?).

My advice would be to encourage your child to have fun with it at school, and then explain why you don't do it at home. There's nothing about walking past a Christmas tree that is going to effect her deeply.

One of the meanings of Christmas is giving to those who cannot give back to us. That is the meaning of Santa. That is also one of the meaning of the birth of Jesus. That is why there are so many opportunities this time of year for giving to charity. That is the meaning that our family emphasises -- even though we aren't Christians.

The Christmas tree at my child's school is covered with mittens the kids have brought in as part of a Christmas service project. The school is also doing a food drive as part of celebrating Christmas. If your child's school is doing any projects, then you could explain that very, very positive aspect of Christmas to her. Many people who are involved in these projects aren't Christians. We just chose to be part of them because they are the right thing to do, and doing the right thing as a group is fun and energizing.
post #33 of 101
I'm going to say this as gently as possible, and this is coming from somebody who was bullied pretty much all of my school career

From your posts, it doesn't sound like your daughter is being bullied because of her family's religious beliefs. Kids are cruel. The bullies didn't seek out your daughter because of her different religious beliefs. Being "new" to the school (yes I realize she's only in 1st grade, but a lot of those kids have probably been in that school starting with preschool and/or pre-k for a few years now and already know each other), combined with low self-esteem and/or confidence about herself or her religious beliefs. They sensed that she didn't have great confidence (and maybe they were wrong, but wrong or not, they sensed it) and found something to pick on her about. Had she been christian and celebrated christmas, they would have picked something else. Her clothes, her hair, you and your dh as her parents, her name, whatever. The original bullies would have found something that the rest of the majority of the kids thought was weird, and in turn they picked on her as well.

Like I said, I was bullied as well. At first it was my hair, and then I changed my hair. They still picked on me, and I couldn't figure out why. Then it was because I was a poor athlete. Well, could fix that, but they evenutally moved on from that to something else. But in the end it really wasn't about any of that. There were tons of other kids with bad hair styles, poor athletic ability, and everything else under the sun, yet they weren't picked on. I was shy and seriously lacked self-confidence, and they knew and could smell it a mile away.

If/when you go to the school about this (and I definitely think you should), please don't say "They bully my child because we're not christian and your santa crafts are making it worse." The focus should be that she's bullied, not the reasons why, because in the end, pretty much everyone who is bullied is from the same reason.
post #34 of 101
I was bullied in elem. school because I was an atheist. That was the reason. Having the whole "under God" part of the Pledge DID make things worse for me. Thankfully, my school did better than many when it came to winter celebrations, though I did feel very much like an outsider during music/ chorus classes due to the religious songs. Other than being an atheist, I was liked. I was treated with respect. But, when the subject turned to God and believing/ disbelieving, I was treated horribly. There are plenty of kids who are raised to be intolerant of differing belief systems when it comes to religion. And some of those kids do absolutely bully for that reason. Some adults as well.
post #35 of 101
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lotusdebi View Post
I was bullied in elem. school because I was an atheist. That was the reason. Having the whole "under God" part of the Pledge DID make things worse for me. Thankfully, my school did better than many when it came to winter celebrations, though I did feel very much like an outsider during music/ chorus classes due to the religious songs. Other than being an atheist, I was liked. I was treated with respect. But, when the subject turned to God and believing/ disbelieving, I was treated horribly. There are plenty of kids who are raised to be intolerant of differing belief systems when it comes to religion. And some of those kids do absolutely bully for that reason. Some adults as well.
exactly- she did not have any problems until the recent holiday atmosphere started.
post #36 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by organicfarmerswife View Post
Im just wondering what difference it would make to know?
Some of us who have been there and done that could possibly give some pointed advice to help out.

There are a lot of mothers here who have dealt with these issues, not for years, but decades, and could suggest a more directed option for you.
post #37 of 101
Quote:
Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Interesting attitude.
:

I agree...MDC is a place that does not (for the most part) persecute beliefs...whether they be child rearing beliefs, marital beliefs, or religious beliefs. I think that is what seperates us from other parenting web sites, and uniforms us in the peaceful manner which has been created. I am sorry you do mind sharing - but I was hoping to offer ways that you/your child could help educate others about your religion. You never know what personal experiences we may have with certain religions.
post #38 of 101
To answer your original question, we always try to go somewhere at Christmas where we can be a part of someone else's celebration.... we have family members that celebrate it, and it feels fun and festive to be included in their celebrations. We talk about what it means to them, and what it could symbolize to us.

And as far as all the trappings of Christmas not being Christian???? Well, a view that only one in the "majority" could take. I get that the holiday is now celebrated in a much more commercial way. But there would be no Santa (SAINT Nick) if there were no Christmas (CHRIST mas).
post #39 of 101
about bullying -- I think that some kids just tease others because they can't think of other ways of interacting. They just focus on what is different, and then make a big deal of it. The way a child reacts to this influences what happens next. Most kids get teased about something at some point.

(And homeschooled kids sometimes have these same experiences in other situations, so it really isn't limited to a school situation.)

Although I think it is a great idea to involve the teacher and let him/her know what is going on, teaching your DD how to deal with others when they tease her is an important life skill.
post #40 of 101
I think we can all respect OrganicFarmersWife's privacy in matters of her religion.

I'm really sorry you are going through this and I'm hopeful that there is a more inclusive solution for your school, perhaps with some of the other parents. The school might be open to some kind of assembly so it isn't just you and your child.

For the other poster who asked, I'm part of the Unity church and we don't proselytize either. We are a very mainstream church though.
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