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#1 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 09:42 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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??
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#2 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 09:53 PM
 
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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.

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#3 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 10:04 PM
 
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Santa is not religous in any way, and Christmas IS a secular holiday.

I don't see the problem.

but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#4 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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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?
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#5 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 10:26 PM
 
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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.

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#6 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 10:38 PM
 
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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.
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#7 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 10:54 PM
 
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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.

 
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#8 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 10:56 PM
 
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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.

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#9 of 150 Old 12-16-2009, 11:31 PM
 
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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?
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#10 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 12:01 AM
 
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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?

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#11 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 12:05 AM
 
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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.

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#12 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 12:06 AM
 
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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.
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#13 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 12:19 AM
 
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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.
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#14 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 12:59 AM
 
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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.

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#15 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 01:18 AM
 
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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.
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#16 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 01:28 AM
 
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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.
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#17 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 01:58 AM
 
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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.
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#18 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 02:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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!
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#19 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 02:33 AM
 
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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.

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#20 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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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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#21 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 04:01 AM
 
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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.

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#22 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 04:11 AM
 
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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.)

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#23 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 07:13 AM
 
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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".
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#24 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 08:11 AM
 
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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?
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#25 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 10:29 AM
 
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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?

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#26 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 10:43 AM
 
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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.
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#27 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Double post
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#28 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 10:57 AM
 
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my kids would be excited about it. sounds fun to me.

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#29 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 11:01 AM
 
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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>>

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#30 of 150 Old 12-17-2009, 11:05 AM
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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.
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