I thought maybe this was the year I didn't blog about Christmas messages from public schools. But, of course, the topic has come up again. 'Tis the season...
Start with Miguel Guhlin's post taking some of us to task on this issue.
Then read Justin Bathon's post (and the ensuing conversation) about Christmas trees in rural Kentucky schools.
Then watch Deer Park (TX) ISD's annual Christmas card from the tech department.
Then watch Jefferson Junior High's (Woodridge, IL) video holiday card from the staff.
Then, if you're really a glutton for punishment, read my posts on this topic from past years:
- 2009 Secular v. sectarian Christmas displays: What is the obligation of public schools to be welcoming?
- 2008 It's time to play... Spot that holiday violation 2008!
- 2007 Observing religious holidays in schools
- 2006 Bah, humbug
photo © 2006 Lauren Manning | more info (via: Wylio)Finally, ask yourself how you feel if you're a Hindu kid, Jewish employee, atheist parent, or some other non-Christian community member and your local public school one that's obligated by law to serve you, to stay on the right side of the Constitution, and to provide a welcoming learning and/or working environment is sending overwhelming messages (through happy 'secular' displays, videos, etc.) of CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS! CHRISTMAS!
Do you feel welcome? Do you feel valued? Do you feel included? I'm guessing not. And that's why I have a problem with this. As I said last year:
It's not about declaring a 'war on Christmas.' Heck, I like Christmas; my family celebrates it every year. Much of this isn't even about religion. Instead it's about kindness and respect. Why do so many schools talk all year (and even implement curricular programs) about being kind, respectful, and inclusive and then get their backs up and get defensive about their right to do this? Don't they see the disconnects between their rhetoric and their actions? Why on earth are they fighting so hard to send messages of noninclusiveness?
Many educators still don't seem to care about this. And that's what continues to trouble me...