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Santa visiting class in public school

post #1 of 150
Thread Starter 
This is crazy, right? Got a notice that Santa would be visiting every class to say hello and emphasize doing well in school (or some such). They said that if you don't want your child to be included to let the teacher know.

We celebrate secular Christmas/solstice, but this seems like a really bad idea to me. Does anyone else have a public school that does this??
-e
post #2 of 150
nak

This just came up locally. Santa was removed from visiting during school, but they "clarified the policy" and he's allowed back if the entire class is okay with it.
post #3 of 150
Santa is not religous in any way, and Christmas IS a secular holiday.

I don't see the problem.
post #4 of 150
Thread Starter 
But we live in a diverse area where there ARE kids who don't celebrate Cmas. (Jewish and Muslim.) Why make such a big deal out of it?
-e
post #5 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post
Santa is not religous in any way, and Christmas IS a secular holiday.

I don't see the problem.
Saint Nicholas isn't religious in anyway? Christ's Mass (commonly contracted to Christmas) is a secular holiday?

I'm pretty sure my priest's opinion would be that these were religious. I know my Buddhist husband doesn't think they are secular. I could go ask the orthodox Jewish family up the street what they think, but I'm pretty sure they a busy right now celebrating the 6th night of Chanukah.
post #6 of 150
Think of the uproar that happened when President Barack Obama DARED to try to speak to students about doing well in school. I think it's totally, completely inappropriate and kind of offensive that Santa will be visiting the classes. Plus, it's just dumb and asking for trouble; there are bound to be kids who decide to say that Santa is not real and will ruin it for the kids who still believe. Ugh. I'd be mad.
post #7 of 150
They do Santa every year and have pics taken with him at school if we want to pay for them.

We have never done santa we celebrate Christmas as Jesus birthday. To us santa is no more than a cartoon character who is associated with the holiday. No one I know views santa as being religious in any way shape or form.

I dont see making a big deal out of it personally. It isnt going to cause any harm.
post #8 of 150
Santa visits our school, and I think it's great! The kids enjoy it. If you don't like it my advice would be don't let your child participate I see nothing wrong with projecting a bit of fun play into daily school activities especially since the schools are giving parents the choice to opt out.
post #9 of 150
I'm glad to see some voices of moderation on this thread.

I couldn't give a rats' if Santa visited school, and am not christian. Sure, why not? Those who don't want to participate don't have to. Why do the non-believers get to dictate to those of us who are easy-going?
post #10 of 150
The problem with just not participating, is that it's awfully depressing to sit in the classroom, and do some busy work alone while all your classmates get excited and go off to do what they probably consider the most exciting activity of the whole year. Then they will all come back to the room and have this thing to talk to each other about and bond over.

You can compare it to how bent out of shape parents get over their child being kept in during recess b/c they didn't complete their assignments. This really is the same thing, but in so many ways much a bigger deal for little kids then an occasional recess.

It's not really the nonbeliever who this sort of thing is really hard on, as people who do have strong beliefs that just happen to be different from the mainstream. The Jewish families, the Muslim families, the Hindu families, the Buddhist families, the Baha'i families, the Jehovah's Witness families, etc are usually the one who will go to the trouble to abstain from such practices. It can be hard enough for them dealing with the constant pressure from the outside world making them feel different, does it really have to be forced upon them at school?
post #11 of 150
DS's preschool (publicly funded pre-k) is having Polar Express day tomorrow which includes a train ride to visit Santa and get a small gift.

I guess if it bothered me (it doesn't, he is super-duper excited about it) I would keep him home tomorrow.
post #12 of 150
I agree that Santa is NOT a religious figure, at all, as a part of today's christmas. Sure, it might be based on st nicholas, but that is not who santa is.

Also, something liek 95% of americans celebrate christmas.
post #13 of 150
Hmmmm, I guess I find it a little surprising and "outdated" based on the public school system here. AFAIK, everything is very "Happy Holidays" and "Winter Break," etc., here in the public school system. It's quite a liberal/non-traditional public school system that considers itself progressive, though.
post #14 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
Also, something liek 95% of americans celebrate christmas.
That leaves 5% who object to it.

Only 4%, which is 1% less than those who don't celebrate Christmas, of school age children have nut allergies, but when I bring in the class snacks to DS's school for the kids to share, it has to be nut free not from a shared facility, so the one kid in DS's class with a nut allergy doesn't feel left out, excluded and different at snack time.
post #15 of 150
We celebrate Christmas in our household. We do Santa and watch the TV specials and leave cookies out Christmas Eve.

I would be FURIOUS if my DD's class was having a special visit from Santa. School is not the place for it. If we want to go and see Santa, we will seek one out. You can find them everywhere, so it's not like it's hard for my kids to see him or anything. I don't want some random guy acting like Santa (an extremely important person in my kids' minds) talking to my kids about schoolwork, making them think there's a link between doing well in school and getting Christmas presents. That is NOT part of our values system. I don't want my DD coming home and talking about the exciting visit, then asking why classmates X (Jewish) and Y (Hindu) and Z (Jehovah's Witness) didn't get to participate and didn't seem excited.

I would be mad, and vocally so.
post #16 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
That leaves 5% who object to it.

Only 4%, which is 1% less than those who don't celebrate Christmas, of school age children have nut allergies, but when I bring in the class snacks to DS's school for the kids to share, it has to be nut free not from a shared facility, so the one kid in DS's class with a nut allergy doesn't feel left out, excluded and different at snack time.
1 child who may DIE as a result of a nut allergy is worlds different from 1 child who may not celebrate christmas and would have an alternate activity during the time santa came.

what about halloween? I'd guess similar stats are associated with Halloween. Should halloween be kept out of schools, to not offend people? I know in our school there are some children who do not celebrate halloween, they are offered alternative activities during any halloween celebrations.
post #17 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
The problem with just not participating, is that it's awfully depressing to sit in the classroom, and do some busy work alone while all your classmates get excited and go off to do what they probably consider the most exciting activity of the whole year. Then they will all come back to the room and have this thing to talk to each other about and bond over.
Oh for crying out loud. It's like what, 10 minutes out of a day? That's going to effect them bonding with classmates for the rest of the year? I really don't buy it. It'll suck then it'll be over, most kids have short attention spans and they'll all to be onto the next thing, like how some kid brought a My Little Pony for show and tell or whatever.

So basically, because some kids' parents don't want them to participate, no kids get to have a fun activity. That's so mean spirited. And hardly conducive to positive community relations.

I think, in life, having travelled a lot, that sometimes you need to suck it up for the greater community spirit. I give tolerance to you, you give tolerance to me. This endless pontificating on *my* rights and rigid thinking and the individual above all doesn't help people get along imo

And ask me how I feel about the JW family in DD's class who have taken it upon themselves to express their non-belief by telling their child to tell the kids the tooth fairy and santa aren't real. So fine, they're not real. Couldn't they keep their traps shut? I certainly wouldn't tell my DD that their beliefs are bullshit, but somehow it's okay to do it in the reverse.
post #18 of 150
Thread Starter 
OP here. DS's best friend at school is Jewish and they don't celebrate Cmas at all, and it makes me a little sad to think about S. not being included. It seems like it wouldn't be that hard to come up with a fun, winter activity that could be all-inclusive. I probably won't sign DS out of it, although he doesn't believe in Santa.

It's interesting to hear the different perspectives, especially as I ponder whether it's something I feel strongly enough about to approach the principal. Guess it's good to know what kind of animosity I might stir up!
-e
post #19 of 150
okay, I can see not celebrating christmas and/or not believing in santa - but I imagine that if this were my family (and actually, I am atheist - but we do celebrate in a non-religious way)

I would A) keep my kid home. It's one day. One freakin' day. Kids who homeschool don't go the whole year! If it were my DS, he wouldn't even realize that he was missing school, for all he knows it would be another holiday where school is closed or heck, I could tell him my car didn't start if I wanted to lie

or B) I would send my kid, and my kid, being a kid who doesn't celebrate christmas or do the whole santa thing could watch the other kids do whatever they do w/santa at school. Do they sit on his lap? I don't know - and honestly, that kinda creeps me out anyway - does he stand around saying merry christmas ringing a bell? does he sing a song, or read a story? Tomorrow, the 'santa' at my DS's school (btw, he and I have talked, and he knows it isn't a real santa visiting) is going to be set up in the pretend (he knows this, too) North Pole at the end of their polar express train ride and give each child a small gift (knowing his school, it will be a book and/or maybe a bell).

I honestly don't get why my kid couldn't either watch whatever santa at school does, or even participate. If my home values/religion were that strong - yet not such that I kept him home - why would seeing santa at school change anything? Do you keep your kids away from the mall? or from the entrance of stores where a santa looking dude is ringing a bell for donations?

I guess I just think that if it's such a big deal for some families due to religious reasons, they should keep their kid home or in the classroom, or suck it up and participate (I mean that it a nice way, like a pp said about traveling and other cultures). Here, in the US, the vast majority of people DO celebrate christmas, including the whole Santa Claus portion.

I don't really see the big whoop. If it bothered me, I would bring it up to my PTO and school admin and encourage the parents to have a vote in whether or not it happened in the upcoming years.
post #20 of 150
when my kids were in school Santa did visit....they also played with dreidles (sp) celebrated kwanza, yule/solstice etc. It's a culturally rich season and a great opportunity to learn about other cultures. I even remember december being the time in social studies where we learned december holidays around the world when I was a kid in school. Oh, and they watched a movie about St. Nicolas to learn Santa's origins, and celebrated St. Nicolas day on Dec 5th by getting chocolate coins in their shoes, lol. Every religion with a December holiday was covered. Parents were also encouraged to come in throughout the year to share other traditions with the class.
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