The Hillsboro School District in Oregon sent a memo to its staff about the holidays to remove all religious-themed holiday decorations, according to Fox. Oddly enough, it included Santa Claus.
“You may still decorate your door or office if you like,” read a copy of the memo obtained by KATU, “but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus.”
This bizarre memo went out, according to Beth Graser, communications director for the school district, “as a notification to staff, not even parents, just to make sure they are being sensitive and thoughtful as they enter the holiday season.”
Who on earth is Santa going to offend?
It would appear that the thought process was that since Santa was related to a specific holiday, Christmas, he should be taboo.
Some parents think the rule is ridiculous.
“I’m from that generation where we believe in Santa, and my kids believe in Santa, and they should be able to celebrate it,” one parent told KATU.
“If you’re going to put a giant cross on the window that’s one thing, but I think Santa Claus is more folklore and American history than a religious symbol at this point,” said a man identified by KATU as Jason Ramirez.
Ramirez had a point. Santa and Jesus are only related in the sense that they both are tied to a holiday in different ways. Saint Nicholas may have been a historical figure, but Santa Claus is a myth and a commercial sensation, not a religious figure.
The Hillsboro School District claimed that there was a miscommunication — that there was no “Santa ban,” but that the school was just trying to be more inclusive.
“We have no policies or directives around this issue, we merely want to remind staff that we need to create inclusive and welcoming spaces for all of our students and realize that many of our students — because of their religion, culture, or other beliefs — do not feel comfortable (and in many cases may not be allowed by their parents) participating in activities that are holiday-based or religious in nature, or being surrounded by imagery that is a direct affront to them,” it said in a statement.
Regardless, the wording of the memo seemed pretty explicit regarding the district’s intent.
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