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Santa visiting class in public school - Page 2

post #21 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
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.
There have always been kids with nut allergies. I've know adults who grew up with them. They didn't die b/c their class mates got nut filled snacks, but they never ever got to share with them. It wasn't so much a life threatening situation most of the time, but it was an isolating one.

If the snack I sent in was from a share facility, the kid with nut allergies wouldn't die, he would have to sit alone eating something different. We go to this trouble to make all the children feel included.
post #22 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tapioca View Post
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.
But it's not just 10 minutes out of the day. The kid from a different culture and different religion is always different. When things like this go on in schools it underline that fact for the child. It shines a spot light on them for the rest of the kids.

Having stuff like this go on doesn't foster a sense of community so much as a sense of us and them. It makes that one kid stand out even further.

These things creep in and become more and more pervasive. First it's Santa, then it selling Chirstmas gifts during class time, next thing you know they are doing morning prayers over the PA and the teachers got a framed picture of Jesus on her desk, and the kid who doesn't participate is ostracized by classmmates and punished by teachers. (If you think I'm being paranoid all those examples are from other threads on this board.)
post #23 of 150
I really don't understand what is really the issue here. Is it that people who don't "do" Santa don't want their kids to see a Santa? Or is it that this "fake" Santa might ruin it for kids who "believe" in Santa? Or is it that people who don't celebrate Christmas don't want their kids to do anything Christmassy? I can't understand how this can be so serious.

We are going to a Christmas party at my four-year-old's kindergarten this afternoon where "Santa" will be visiting. It is a quite central part of our culture, together with angels, gnomes and the Jesus baby, but I don't think anybody "believes" in him! I don't think the distinction between belief and non-belief is that strong in young children, it is like any other story, religious or non-religious.

The only thing I might have a problem with in the situation that O.P. is in, is that Santa is going to be talking about doing well in school. What has that got to do with anything? Is it some kind of "be good, or else!" pedagogics? That is very unfair to the kids in my opinion. All kids want presents and to be appreciated, and it shouldn't be mixed with any considerations of whether he or she is "good enough".
post #24 of 150
I had no issue with it when my kids were in public school.My kids know that the santa was just the principal handing out presents.They know santa is not real,and that people use the santa theme for various reasons.

Atleast they give an opt-out option,but I wonder if that would be worse than just sitting in the room listening to the fake santa tell kids to do good in school.What is the opt-out option?
post #25 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
But it's not just 10 minutes out of the day. The kid from a different culture and different religion is always different. When things like this go on in schools it underline that fact for the child. It shines a spot light on them for the rest of the kids.
At some point (why not now) children who have major differences in religion and beliefs will have to understand that THEY are the ones that are different and the majority(or school) should not have bend over backwards to accomodate their beliefs.

Why should the other 29 children in the class not celebrate the largest of all Holidays in this country because 1 child's parents have chosen to raise him in a different manner?

This is just one of the many reason why the Public school system is what it is today. Parents who have options are leaving to attend private schools or to homeschool because the majority have to suffer because of the indignation of the minority.

I don't celebrate Halloween, so I chose to keep my child at home on Firday October 30th. Actually we went camping that weekend so that he would not witness the celebrations that others were having around us. I and the other Christian parents at my son's school (private) could make a stink and have the celebration removed from the calendar, but what would that accomplish?
post #26 of 150
I have to say that I agree quite a bit with eepster. If the school gives equal play to a x-tian symbol of the season as well as other beliefs... the menorah, the yule log of paganism, even discussion about the end of ramadan of muslims (which occurs at various times of the year), then I would KIND OF be okay with it. Still, I think that what it boils down to in PUBLIC SCHOOL is that it is an agent of the public, and that it is GOVERNMENT funded. Sorry, but there is a division of church and state. NOTHING involving a religious celebration, that includes x-mas and that includes Santa, should be a part of public school.

It is reasons like this that I send my dd to an international, language-immersion school. She is never subjected to a single religion's influence. And I'm sorry, but Santa doesn't exist in any other religion, so he's tied quite firmly to x-tians.

ETA: FTR- we are TOTALLY into Santa and for dd (7), he's still a huge part of what we celebrate, which is a secular x-mas. Her best friend, though, is Muslim and I can tell you that the little girl is quite happy with the season without a tree or santa or xmas. She's just happy to be off from school.
post #27 of 150
Double post
post #28 of 150
my kids would be excited about it. sounds fun to me.
post #29 of 150
I am not totally against Santa in the class - but I do think other cultural/religous traditions should be celebrated as well - particularly traditions that exist within the class or immediate community.

I am not in favour of Santa telling the kids to do well in school. In some traditions Santa keeps a list of "naughty and nice" and I would really hate for a child to get the idea that getting good grades is somehow linked to being on the "nice" list. <<shudder>>

Kathy
post #30 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by AndrewsMother View Post
At some point (why not now) children who have major differences in religion and beliefs will have to understand that THEY are the ones that are different and the majority (or school) should not have bend over backwards to accomodate their beliefs.
If religion was just kept out of the public schools entirely, this wouldn't be an issue.
post #31 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
But it's not just 10 minutes out of the day. The kid from a different culture and different religion is always different. When things like this go on in schools it underline that fact for the child. It shines a spot light on them for the rest of the kids.

Having stuff like this go on doesn't foster a sense of community so much as a sense of us and them. It makes that one kid stand out even further.

These things creep in and become more and more pervasive. First it's Santa, then it selling Chirstmas gifts during class time, next thing you know they are doing morning prayers over the PA and the teachers got a framed picture of Jesus on her desk, and the kid who doesn't participate is ostracized by classmmates and punished by teachers. (If you think I'm being paranoid all those examples are from other threads on this board.)
You know what though, the OVERWHELMINGLY enormous part of the community SHARES these things. What if you or I moved to a different culture, say to a predominately Muslim or Jewish or other 'non' Christian community. Do we pitch a fit because local culture is that women are covered in Muslim communities? Or do we cry and moan that there are not any Christmas decorations to be had in Jerusalem? Do you think that a predominately Jewish community should not publicly celebrate Chanukah or Purim or Rosh Hashana because there are a very small amount of Muslims or Christians in the community?

Honestly, I don't think it's very fair to go from Santa visiting school (completely secular) to morning prayers over the PA.
post #32 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2xy View Post
If religion was just kept out of the public schools entirely, this wouldn't be an issue.
Santa is not religious, it is secular, and over 95% of Americans 'believe' in Santa.
post #33 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by moondiapers View Post
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.
This is what I would assume-- that if Santa were making an appearance in a public school, then other winter celebrations would be covered, too. OR that Santa would come after school rather than during school hours. That said, it probably wouldn't be a battle that I personally would fight, as I see today's "Santa" as a mostly secularized, commercialized figure. Santa is one thing; a nativity or creche celebrating the birth of Jesus is another. However, OP, if you are really concerned, you may want to call your local American Civil Liberties Union branch. http://www.aclu.org/christmas/xmas_santa.html
post #34 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by eepster View Post
There have always been kids with nut allergies. I've know adults who grew up with them. They didn't die b/c their class mates got nut filled snacks, but they never ever got to share with them. It wasn't so much a life threatening situation most of the time, but it was an isolating one.

If the snack I sent in was from a share facility, the kid with nut allergies wouldn't die, he would have to sit alone eating something different. We go to this trouble to make all the children feel included.
Maybe we shouldn't read stories with Mommys and Daddy's in them either- I mean, there is likely a child who comes from a family either with no daddy or no mommy or two daddys or two mommys or live with relatives or foster care or other. We surely wouldn't want to isolate that child and make them not feel included.
post #35 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
Santa is not religious, it is secular, and over 95% of Americans 'believe' in Santa.
Santa is linked to Christmas - which is a religous holiday. He is not secular.

Heck, we cannot agree online whether he is secualr or not...don't you think it would make sense for a public school (with its seperation of church and state mandate) to avoid Santa as he might be perceived as a sign of Christianity?

I see two options:

You can have Santa, as part of a Christmas unit...but Christmas would be one of the many religous/cultural traditions explored throughout the year. You may also hand out dreidles, have a solctice party etc. The whole thing would be done as "world religions" - not theology. As an observer of the religion - not a participant, so to speak.

Skip anything to do with religion. I do not think this is a great options as religion plays a big part in our world and understanding it is crucial for both understanding history, current affairs and teaching tolerance.


Kathy
post #36 of 150
WHY would you bring Santa into a classroom? My kids are having their holiday parties today - it's a full day of fun, crafts, games, snacks, etc. They're NOT missing anything...including Santa.

honestly - my kids believe in Santa but actually seeing the guy - kind of freaks them out.

We do not have Santa visits in the classroom and I would oppose it....How much Santa does a kid need during the holidays. Blech horrible idea.
post #37 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
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.
The "big whoop" is that we have separation of Church and State. Our public schools should NOT be incorporating religious aspects into the school day. Santa, "secular" or not, is associated with Christmas and I have a hard time swallowing the idea that Christmas is a secular holiday - it is a celebration of the birth of baby Jesus Christ! We do not celebrate that particular religious event and do not want it celebrated at a public school. Our DD is now in a Catholic school, so we are OK with her participating in all of it there (otherwise we never would have put her in that school), but I would not find it acceptable at a public school. If there was a lesson on "world religions and cultures" that would be one thing, but the children are being asked to "celebrate" a symbol that is associated with a specific religion. It is not about inclusion or exclusion, it is about what the Constitutional division that we have in this country. We do not have to suck it up here. Again, I do not expect DD to be sheltered from Santa at the Mall, but the mall is not publicly-funded property. I also did not expect my DD to be sheltered from Muslim prayers in school over the past two years in the Middle East because they do not share our Constitution. But here in the US, do not tell me that my choice is to keep my child home from public school (which my child is entitled to attend) or to "suck up" the violation of separation of Church and State. Maybe others need to "suck up" to the fact that we have a Constitution that governs such separation and enjoy Santa outside of the public school system. As you said, there is no shortage of Santas at the mall, etc that you and your family can enjoy.

Ok, I will step down from my soapbox now...
post #38 of 150
I see where you are coming from, amma - but I guess it's just a difference in opinions about the whole Santa figure being secular or religious. Since I am not a Christian, maybe that is part of my view (though I know there are plenty of Christians that do not do Santa).

Like I said in previous posts, my DS's Santa visit is part of their Polar Express thing. They have read the book, sang songs, made crafts, etc., all surrounding this story (and actually, my older kids, also in public school, watched the movie in the gymnasium). I guess there may be parents who objected to Polar Express, too, since it ends with a visit to Santa (though, I have read the book, and watched the movie several times and got zero religious vibes from it).

I guess I'm trying to understand a bit better, and what I'm thinking is that maybe it's not the state and religion separation issue so much but a respect thing to those who do not celebrate christmas in the secular sort of way or for whatever reason having their children see a Santa figure at their educational institution is beyond their personal comfort level.
post #39 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drummer's Wife View Post
Since I am not a Christian, maybe that is part of my view (though I know there are plenty of Christians that do not do Santa).
yes! this is my experience as well. we actually are christians, but we include santa as part of our christmas. i can't tell you how many times i've been really frowned upon by other christians for "ruining" the true meaning of christmas by letting my kids believe in santa. i'm the lone ranger santa-believing christian in my area, lol.
post #40 of 150
Quote:
Originally Posted by mommy2maya View Post
Maybe we shouldn't read stories with Mommys and Daddy's in them either- I mean, there is likely a child who comes from a family either with no daddy or no mommy or two daddys or two mommys or live with relatives or foster care or other. We surely wouldn't want to isolate that child and make them not feel included.
As a matter of fact, our school does have a special curriculum called "Families All Matter" that makes sure kids don't feel isolated based on differences like adoption, gay/lesbian parents, immigration, race, etc. You might want to look into it.

Frankly, non-Christians (and it's more than 5% of the population, at least in our diverse city) have Christmas shoved down our throats 24/7 for over a month each year. Your child doesn't get enough of Santa at home, shopping, community events, etc.? It really has to be in the schools too? My child is expected to either "suck it up," miss out on a party by sitting alone in another room, or stay home for the day??? Really???

Fortunately, she's enjoying pajama day today at her school, and all the children are getting free "bedtime" books. Tomorrow, each class is singing a song (non-holiday) for their "Winter Snowflake Concert" and families are invited to stay for a special Mexican breakfast (she attends a Spanish dual-immersion school.) Plenty special and celebratory, and respectful of EVERY child and family in the school. It's not so hard to do, people. If you don't like it, there are plenty of religious schools to which you can choose to send your child.
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