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Ok, I really tried not to let this bother me but it does
Old 12-23-2016, 06:42 AM
 
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On Wednesday admin brought in a Santa for the kids. We're a public school with a HUGELy diverse population including 3 self contained bilingual Arabic speaking classes that don't even celebrate Christmas. 1/3 of my class is Arabic speaking from the Middle East. All of these students celebrate Eid, not Christmas. That's not even including the Jahovah's Witnesses and I'm Jewish. But my biggest issue is the separation of church and state.

I get that they're trying to raise staff and kid morale. I respect that. I should be jumping on the bandwagon like everyone else. How about fixing the real problems like student discipline (or lack thereof)? The RtI system so kids who need help can get it? Holding teachers accountable? Not playing favorites?

Oh, and separation of church and state. Santa had no business in a public school.

Flame away, but it's how I feel. I'd feel that way if I celebrated Christmas too. I think all religious beliefs should be respected, not just the majority.


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Old 12-23-2016, 06:52 AM
 
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COMPLETELY agree and I celebrate Christmas. We don't have Santa at our school but we do have a Christmas sing-along. Um, seriously? They'll say oh but they're not specifically Christian songs. They are in celebration of a Christian holiday. We don't sing Jingle Bells in July. They had something in the library for the kids whose parents wanted them to opt out but they didn't tell us which kids did. I hadn't heard anything so just assumed all my students were going. Thank goodness one of them piped up and said, "Ms. Cruxian, my dad says I'm not supposed to go because we don't celebrate Christmas." So appreciative of her self-advocacy because I have at least three that I know don't celebrate Christmas. I didn't want to single them out on purpose by assuming they weren't to go. It makes me upset that this was happening at our school. This year, we didn't even sing the Dreidl song. I've spent only a very little time in a non-Christian country (Turkey) and it's interesting the things you notice when your religious faith is not the default. We did have a holiday celebration in our grade level on Tuesday. You know what? Not a single Christmas or religious themed activity. I was proud of us that it went with out saying. We did a quilting activity for the Southeast, wheelbarrow races around a fake "Pikes Peak" for the west, snowball fights and blizzards for the Notheast, and tornado information for the Midwest.
No flames from me, just support.
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Santa
Old 12-23-2016, 07:03 AM
 
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Ok I get Santa shouldn't be at school but what does that have to do with "church and state"?

Christmas is a religious holiday for Christians who recognize the day as A way to celebrate Jesus's birth.

Santa is a symbol of Christmas but there are plenty of folks who celebrate Christmas/Santa/give gifts that are zero religious based, Purely secular.
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ExpatLand here...
Old 12-23-2016, 07:26 AM
 
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How my district manages to have all things Christmas .

We never had Santa come to DD's school, but might as well. Huge Christmas sing alongs. Huge "holiday" parties. Since the bulk of the Expats were going back "home" after X amount of time, they wanted their kids to experience "American" stuff. That meant Halloween and Christmas related things. It gets thrown under the title of cultural education. To be fair, the school does do something for Muslim and Hindu holidays. Yeah, I know.

My Hindu neighbors have a tiny Christmas tree up so their kids can decorate it. *shrug*

We have many Jehovah's Witnesses. The school gives them dates off the "activities", and those children don't show up. How that flies, I don't know.

When I moved here, I thought my kid would never see a Christmas tree or school party. The school is that diverse. This kid has more American holiday parties than I ever had growing up in the 1970s when no one gave a crap about cultural diversity or keeping Christmas/holidays out of school.

Districts do creative weasel wording with good lawyers

You'd think there would be a bigger uproar, but nothing but *crickets* here.
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Old 12-23-2016, 07:32 AM
 
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Does respecting a religious belief mean that no one should be allowed to have any type of display of their religious holidays?

The only governmental requirement is that the government can't establish a religion. It doesn't say government must ignore that religion exists. Our schools always had windows decorated with holiday symbols, both Jewish and secular Christmas (notice they didn't have religious Christmas).

In my hometown, both the nativity and the menorah are displayed on the lawn at the court house. Any other religion is allowed to display religious symbols if they so choose at their holiday times. The fact that some religions don't have them or do not show displays does not mean that those that do are disrespecting other religions. I see it more of those that won't allow display of other religions as the disrespectful ones.

Why would I care a bit if there was some Eid celebration brought into my town, school, or community as long as they didn't require that I believed what their religion preached. How is it disrespectful that I must see and acknowledge their religion and holidays exist?

I guess I see disrespect differently. I see it more disrespectful to stop people from celebrating than having to see it.


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Old 12-23-2016, 07:38 AM
 
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I had 2 kids that celebrate Eid last year so our class learned about their families traditions in a variety of ways. I had some disapproving families however we carried on.

My beef about Santa in school is the high hopes that some kids develop with the Santa myth.

Perhaps the easiest route is not to learn about any holiday traditions in school. This would not teach kids about other families and cultures though.
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Old 12-23-2016, 08:22 AM
 
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We have one student who doesn't celebrate Christmas at my school. The whole thing bothers me too. I try to counter with info about different ideas and beliefs. Living in a culturally homogeneous area also has its own set of drawbacks. The kids are not exposed to other ideas.

On the other hand, every year at Christmas and Easter, I get lots of religious questions. I have to be very, very careful how I answer.
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Just checked my bible
Old 12-23-2016, 09:01 AM
 
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No mention of Santa in it.
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:17 AM
 
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I don't agree with them bringing in Santa and think it was insensitive to those who don't celebrate, but I'm also not sure why it's a church and state issue.

I've never seen Santa promoted as anything but a secular figure. My atheist friends would want nothing to do with that tradition if he were religious.
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:45 AM
 
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To those who say that Santa is a secular symbol, I agree but also counter...do you know anyone who is Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim who has Santa visit their house?
I don't.
The only ones I know of are either Christian or had been raised in a Christian society.
Also, if Santa is purely secular, why does he visit on Christmas? Seems like he should spread the workload out a bit if it wasn't associated with a religious holiday.
Does Santa visit people of other religious holidays on their big days of celebration?
Nope?
That's why it's a matter of church and state.


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Old 12-23-2016, 09:47 AM
 
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I get what you're saying. I think what you mean is that some holidays/traditions are validated (celebrated by giving gifts), while others aren't recognized at all. And while your admin might have had good intentions in trying to boost morale, they unintentionally are saying to everyone who doesn't celebrate Christmas/Santa, "You're traditions/culture isn't important to us." Maybe not a church/state thing, but insensitive nonetheless. I'd be frustrated, too.
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Old 12-23-2016, 09:58 AM
 
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I come to feel that Santa is no longer appropriate in public schools. I took a student to enroll in our local HS. She has been in the USA for ten days. As I walked the halls with this Muslim student I saw the Christmas decorations with new eyes and wondered what she thought of all of it. I;m OK with keeping my religion among my family and friends. I don't need businesses to say Merry Christmas or display my religious icons.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:06 AM
 
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You can't please everyone. Or celebrate every culture's holiday so as not to offend someone. I find it interesting that every other county in the world is allowed to have a culture. Except for us. We might offend someone if we try.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:14 AM
 
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Lub2TeachinTx, I disagree. We do have a culture. Part of it is sensitive to and celebratory of our diversity and inclusiveness. I love that about the US. Ellis Island. Melting pot. Give us your poor huddled masses yearning to be free....Gets me every time.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:16 AM
 
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You can't please everyone. Or celebrate every culture's holiday so as not to offend someone. I find it interesting that every other county in the world is allowed to have a culture. Except for us. We might offend someone if we try.
Agreed

Do I think bringing in Santa was a good idea? No. Do I think we need to be offended? Also no. Do I think we need to wipe out every mention/reference to Christmas or make it completely equal to our mentions of other holidays? No. It's a big part of our culture. Many people across America, both religious and non, celebrate Christmas. If I lived in a predominately Muslim country, I would hope to not be offended by references to their holidays, even in schools. I do think we need to be considerate of others, especially in a school setting, who may not celebrate the same holidays as we do, but good grief that doesn't mean people should only be allowed to reference specific holidays in the privacy of their homes.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:33 AM
 
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I don't see it as a huge issue. We live in a country that guarantees freedom of religion, not freedom from religion. I'm not offended by holiday displays from religions other than mine - in fact, I find them interesting. I wish we could have Christmas things and encourage other ones as well.
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I agree that schools need to fix
Old 12-23-2016, 10:45 AM
 
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their problems like lack of discipline before anything else. I have never been a fan of Santa. I think I was the only kid ( along w/ my sibs) in my neighborhood that never believed in him. We were taught to be respectful though and I remember being quiet about it as a kindergartener even. I do not see any connection with church and state though when it comes to Santa. I spent yrs in a school w/ a more diverse population than I am in now. I remember feeling sorry for certain kids too who were not allowed to participate in holidays. Still I think Christmas is a holiday that is fun to celebrate/ ( ALL of the kids where I live now celebrate. ) However, our school is not allowed to do squat.) I think diversity in all of its hype has become ridiculous. It is a way to brainwash kids into believing everything is OK. It is OK ____hits because he was raised differently. How about teaching ____ not to hit instead of reinforcing the crappy behavior? OK ..I know it is not PC if you are not "gung ho" on diversity, but this country needs to come together. It was a better country when it was a melting pot. We have all become so divided. (and no..I was not a Trump supporter.) It reminds me so much how in the US they say the squeaky wheel gets the oil. Then in Japan they have saying sort of like this: The nail that sticks out gets pounded down.) Since parents ( so many) are no longer teaching values, our schools have to pick up the slack. I think any religion that teaches treating people like you want to be treated, do not kill, steal, or lie could agree that we need to teach these things. IDK about what it is like where everyone else lives, but our educational system has gone to pot w/ the free for all. I look at some of our kids and am afraid for the future of our nation.
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Old 12-23-2016, 10:45 AM
 
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Ah, the Santa thing.
Once, I was at a small six room school. The new principal decided that she would have Santa visit each class. Being the contrarian I am, I asked her if she realized that many of our students, and 1/2 of my class were recent immigrants and Buddhists and that Santa is not a Buddhist tradition.
No problem, she said, they all celebrate Christmas. There was nothing I could say to convince her that not all Buddhists celebrate Christmas.

Fast forward to the Santa visit day. Santa visits all the classrooms and gives out a coloring book.

The substitute teacher across the hall opens my door and beckons to me. One of the nicest second grade girls in the school is sitting there sobbing. As Santa left he exclaimed that he'd be visiting the homes of all the good boys and girls on Christmas Eve.
Child is crying because she tries to be good, but Santa never comes to her house.

My reaction was to send for the principal so that she could explain this to the child.

I guess my point is that while you think you are exposing them to cultural traditions, young children may not get the difference between exposure and participation. This child's family had been here for a couple of years, but they had not embraced our Santa tradition. Having Santa visit the school was not the problem. The problem was that Santa voiced a visit to the home that was not happening (and principal couldn't see that anything might be problematic with a Santa visit).
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Old 12-23-2016, 12:54 PM
 
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I think the kids get enough Santa with their families, it does not need to be at school.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:08 PM
 
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You can't please everyone. Or celebrate every culture's holiday so as not to offend someone. I find it interesting that every other county in the world is allowed to have a culture. Except for us. We might offend someone if we try.
Exactly.
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Muslims + Santas
Old 12-23-2016, 01:34 PM
 
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I volunteered a church's Christmas carnival. The carnival had bounce houses, inflatable games, etc. The carnival was very "Christian lite." The only time I heard about church was come to our Christmas celebration on Dec. 24/25. The attendance was 5,000. There were several Muslims.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:45 PM
 
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I find it interesting that every other county in the world is allowed to have a culture. Except for us. We might offend someone if we try.
What 'Culture' would you suggest?

Quote:
I think all religious beliefs should be respected, not just the majority.
I agree with this.
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Old 12-23-2016, 01:58 PM
 
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Well, as we are in America, we should celebrate our culture in addition to others as well. We do Christmas Around the World and do activities and promote how other cultures celebrate the holidays. What bothers me is that it's somehow offensive to promote American culture by including Santa as well. Why should we not allow our culture to be represented as well?

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Worshipping Santa
Old 12-23-2016, 03:13 PM
 
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Nevermind.

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Oh my!
Old 12-23-2016, 03:24 PM
 
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This is ridiculous! Grow up and put your big girl pants on! Santa is NOT a religious figure. That's what's wrong with this country, we try to avoid offending other cultures expect for the ones that built this country! Santa is a figure and is everywhere, if you don't like it turn and go the other way. We have Santa pictures every year at my school , you can participate or not. If this country would get back to grass roots and stop trying to tip toe around everyone we would be a lot better off. And yes I believe that Jesus's died for my sins and I love him with my whole heart.
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Old 12-23-2016, 04:40 PM
 
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Quote:
I think the kids get enough Santa with their families, it does not need to be at school.
I feel this way too. Santa is a family thing in my opinion.
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Old 12-23-2016, 06:30 PM
 
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You can look in the New Testament, Christian prayer books, and hymnals. Santa is not mentioned at all. Santa is a secular figure.
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Old 12-23-2016, 06:36 PM
 
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Christmas is not mentioned in the Bible either. Pagan traditions were wild and someone came along and tried to settle everyone down by deciding to celebrate Jesus' birth on December 25th.
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Old 12-23-2016, 06:45 PM
 
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The birth of Jesus is in the bible. That is what the Christmas holiday is about, celebrating his birth. Regardless of why the church decided to celebrate Jesus' birth, it is a religious event set aside for the occasion.
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Interesting
Old 12-23-2016, 09:34 PM
 
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I live in a different country to most of you. We have a very multicultural population as well. I did christmas with my class. We do talk about how some countries or religions don't celebrate it but have other days they celebrate. If I have a child who doesn't celebrate I have other things for them to do. My own kids are grown up now but I think I would have been upset if they hadn't done activities for christmas. If I go and live in some countries around the world they wouldn't change things for me and my kids.I worry that we are changing to accommodate other people and their beliefs. At my school the parents put on a christmas end of year party and santa came in a fire truck. The kids loved it. I can't see what is wrong with it.
Merry Christmas from Australia.
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Old 12-23-2016, 11:07 PM
 
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I sooooo agree with you!
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Old 12-24-2016, 03:03 AM
 
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My sister lived in a Muslim country for a while and fasted and broke fast during Ramadan with her neighbors. Everyone knew she wasn't participating as a religious exercise, but just to experience it culturally. My grandparents lived in a neighborhood of Seventh Day Adventists and he didn't do yard work on Saturday just to be respectful of the majority of his neighbors.

I expect whatever the majority of people in the area celebrate to be visible within a community. I don't see how that disrespects those who don't celebrate. I would think those kids would go home thinking it had been interesting.
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Old 12-24-2016, 05:44 AM
 
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The word disrespect has taken on a whole different meaning in the United States. It now means someone else is doing something I don't like. Sometimes it means that someone else thinks I'm wrong.

That wasn't the original intent or definition of the word disrespect, but as most other words, it became abused and misused.

Now, I will say that the one anecdote where Santa said that he will come to the houses of good boys and girls was unfortunate and should be changed knowing the community is much different than it once was, but aside from saying that, having Santa come and hand out a treat to everyone isn't a bad thing. It is our culture. Those who do not celebrate have to take it upon themselves to explain to their own children the differences in the culture and the reasons they choose not to celebrate.

I, for one, would never expect to move to a country and have them change what they do because msd2 has arrived. That is the height of disrespect and arrogance.
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Old 12-24-2016, 07:30 AM
 
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Santa is not a Christian figure. As a matter of fact, I taught for several years in a Christian school where Santa was not allowed because the families wanted to focus on the religious aspects of Christmas. In many ways, Santa is more associated with materialism than anything else.
That being said, I don't necessarily think Santa should be at school.....but it has nothing to do with Christianity.
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Old 12-24-2016, 07:44 AM
 
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While I enjoyed learning about a variety of different countries and how they celebrate the holiday when I taught 1st grade, I didn't have time to do anything holiday related in my 3rd grade class this year. The closest thing I did was participate in the door decorating contest where kids wrote about friendship on an ornament shaped piece of paper.

Oh, I forgot. I did do an internet scavenger hunt on the last day with different countries.

It doesn't bother me to have Santa stuff at school, but I don't know why Santa would visit the school. He should be pretty darn busy by now. Hanging colored pictures on the wall is much different than a personal visit.

I also don't think Santa is religious. We aren't religious and Santa has visited us every single year.
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Old 12-24-2016, 08:10 AM
 
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Quote:
do you know anyone who is Jewish, Hindu, or Muslim who has Santa visit their house?
I do, actually. I have had students from all the faiths you mention and several (though not all) have Santa visit their homes.

I teach a Holiday Unit to my Kindergartners every year. Christmas gets the least coverage. Most years, my kids' favorite is Diwali. And they all love playing dreidel.

Quote:
I think all religious beliefs should be respected, not just the majority.
Absolutely. Like I said, I give more time to Diwali and Hanukkah. Most of my kids don't need to learn about Christmas. They already know...which is why I teach my students about other holidays. Because I am teaching.

All that said, I don't think Santa needs to be visiting schools.
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Old 12-24-2016, 08:29 AM
 
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I am Jewish. When I was in first grade, there were still Bible readings and saying of the Lord's Prayer in school. I grew up with Christmas at school and eventually at home. Santa at school and singing Christmas songs never really bothered me. I have one colleague who tells me every year what she is doing for Channukah. I don't make a big deal of it in school. When it is discussed to balance Christmas, it makes it seem like it is equivalent. It is not. It is a minor festival.
This is the first year that we didn't write Santa letters. They used to be answered by middle school students. If you didn't celebrate, you picked a famous person to write to. Kids were always excited when we got letters.
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Old 12-24-2016, 12:05 PM
 
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While it is true that Santa Claus is largely seen as secular nowadays, he was originally based on a saint:

http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/real-santa/

The same is true for Halloween. It is entirely secular now but has religious roots.

I bring this up not to say whether Santa should be in schools or not, just as a point of historical interest.
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Old 12-24-2016, 02:58 PM
 
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Well, as we are in America, we should celebrate our culture in addition to others as well. We do Christmas Around the World and do activities and promote how other cultures celebrate the holidays. What bothers me is that it's somehow offensive to promote American culture by including Santa as well.
"American culture" means something different to so many people. To you, it apparently includes Santa. To other Americans who have lived here their entire lives (and maybe several generations worth), it doesn't. Christmas with Santa isn't listed as an "American holiday," for example; Americans didn't create that holiday. A "melting pot," as the link below uses, is a good description of what current "American culture" is.

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The United States is sometimes described as a "melting pot" in which different cultures have contributed their own distinct "flavors" to American culture. Just as cultures from around the world have influenced American culture, today American culture influences the world.
http://www.livescience.com/28945-american-culture.html
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year after year
Old 12-26-2016, 10:19 AM
 
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Santa is seen in many places around this time of year, malls, office parties, nursing homes, etc... places where you might find all religious beliefs.

If it's a part of your person preference or not, you can make the choice to enjoy it, ignore it, or become angry.
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Santa is actually NOT secular...
Old 12-26-2016, 11:35 AM
 
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but comes from much earlier, pre-Christian beliefs (as do so many "icons" of the holidays, like xmas trees, yule logs, candy canes, et cetera.) Even thinking of the St. Nick label is misleading, as the idea of "Santa" is an amalgamation of many earlier belief systems. "St Anything"'
suggests Christianity, which is very misleading.

But too many folks don't want to know the truth about earlier beliefs they've taken over and rewritten.

jmo.
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Old 12-26-2016, 12:33 PM
 
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Just because Santa may have come from earlier traditions, icons, or beliefs, we have to look at what it is now. At present, Santa is not a religious symbol. It is a secular. So, a Santa in school can't be seen as a symbol of Christianity.
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Old 12-27-2016, 04:32 PM
 
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Amen! I totally agree with Tsy2013!
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Old 01-01-2017, 06:30 PM
 
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Tolerance? How about teaching students how everyone celebrates the various holiday events so students can be knowledgeable of the traditions and celebrations that their peers and friends of different faiths and with different beliefs participate in. Understanding and working well with people of different ideas, belief, and faith is a life skill that should be introduced in a public school. Productive group work depends on respecting one another and creating an environment that fosters trust and promotes participation.
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I don't believe you tried too hard
Old 01-04-2017, 12:47 AM
 
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I AM TAKING A STAND FOR SANTA, WHOM I LOVE!
I agree that the OP just helped segregate the world a teeny bit more.
(And yet where are you standing? AMERICA. When in Rome what should people do....????)
Incidentally.... sounds like a public school is a real struggle.
Ok so you don't celebrate Christmas? Then I hope you were at work or finding a fill-in job at McDonald's for example for that time!! You could have fixed a few of those 'problems' as well that you mentioned, whilst the rest of us raised our glasses, spread positivity and came together.
Or... did you 'take' the holiday and its pay too... hmmm? Convenient isn't it.
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