Thursday, September 22, 2011

School District to Eliminate All Celebrations

The school district in which my son is a Kindergartener is looking to implement changes that would eliminate celebrations [incuding but not limited to Halloween and Valentine's Day]... all in the name of, [you guessed it], POLITICAL CORRECTNESS. 

* Hisses and bares her teeth * 

Isn't it sad that what was once an ideal created for the protection of those who faced intolerance has come to morph into some menacing, sinister excuse used by any nitpicking ass-hat wishing to promote his or her own twisted agenda?  Honestly, if I hear someone use the coupled phrase "political correctness" one more time I'm going to vomit in my own pointy black hat!!

Because my work at the University will prohibit me from attending the board meetings in which these policy changes will be discussed, I drafted the following letter expressing my disapproval.  Comments and opinions please!!!


To Members of the School Board for the District of XXXX XXXX:
It was brought to my attention recently that pending changes in school policy seek to eliminate celebrations in the school(s).  I am disappointed to learn that at the suggestion of a bitter few, you [a group formed to make decisions to better the learning environment for students] would altogether eradicate social engagements for current and future student populations.
When did “political correctness” become some four-letter word defined as “a necessary depriving of our own children in order to appease the belly-aching of a small handful of overly opinionated objectors”?
And at what point will it end?  We are robbing our students of the simple joys that create lasting childhood memories, and at a rate equivalent to an overzealous bride running through the aisles with her registry gun!  [Zap – there go birthday cupcakes!  Zap – go the jack-o-lanterns!  Zap – go the shamrocks!]  Can no one recognize that we have already crossed the line into absurdity?!  What will you seek to steal from my child next?!
School years should offer far more to a student than just decent test scores.  While it is a home setting that instills a child with the compassion, manners and confidence needed for interactions with others, it is in their school environment that just such values are put into practice.  It is the social endeavors shared with classmates that, joined with one’s education, ultimately produce a well-rounded individual.  Remove these communal opportunities and what you can expect to create are empty shells; generic and average.
Where faculty of the past sought to ignite fires of encouragement, individualism and passion within the spirited young hearts of its students, you wish to stifle with demoralizing policies.  And for what?  Out of a fear that you may offend a minority of faultfinders [whom, you will come to learn, will never be satisfied]?  Toddlers learn to use whining as a tool to get what they want if their mommies give-in to such tactics.  Should the educated members of a school board react with similar enabling actions?  (My family’s pediatrician would be appalled!  And rightfully so!)
I think back to my own school-age memories and cannot fathom giving up costume parades and handmade envelopes stuffed full with Valentines.  FOR SHAME that a committee designed to protect the development of each child would elect to simply erase such fundamental moments.
Keep pushing such idiocies into standard policy in the name of “political correctness” and I think you’ll find that future children will have no room for self-expression or creativity in the smothering atmosphere that such policies will generate. 
Let us not teach our children that “only the squeaky parts get oiled,” even to the detriment of the entire working machine. 

If you have similar stories, please share!  Suggestions?  Send them my way!  Wanna play Devil's Advocate?  Have at it!  I would love for someone to tell me how it will be politically correct to ban a Kindergarten class from showing off their costumes and exchanging Valentine cards. 


  1. My children aren't in public school yet but I dread to believe that even all none religious celebrations would be removed from the school calendar. I believe that here things are still as they've been for a decade, no outward religious holidays. So no Christmas pageant but instead a winter one, etc.

  2. I would've believed similar about my own school district as well Velody, that is until the other day when I learned about the pending policy changes they are looking to push through. I'm afraid we're entering an age where everyone is so paranoid about offending someone that they're willing to deprive students of all celebrations [simply for the sake of being cautious]. Sad times we live in.

  3. I agree, I think it is sad, but I also think of the child that gets left out of such celebrations because of religious differences. Maybe all of these holidays should be removed from the school, they all are religious after all. Yep even St. Patty's and Valentines. But I suggest replacing them with some thing different. My examples, the Japan School system. While the do hold traditional holidays, they also have festivals that celebrate generic things, like the spring, end of year, or (I love this one) Elders. Your school system could adapt this. You could work the events in to a learning experience as well. Like maybe a science festival; carnival games around science principles, using snacks to teach the science of cooking food, dress up as their favorite scientist. Then getting the parents involved in the planning and running of the event, invite the community. No religious dogma + kids (and adults) learning something= win!

  4. I agree Kitchen *itch! Rather than doing away with celebrations alltogehter, we should adopt a more 'generic' approach -- "Fall Masquerades" instead of Halloween, "Winter Wonderland" instead of just Xmas and so on. It would be a sensible compromise versus depriving our youth of any and all festivities for the sake of poltical correctness. Thanks for the comments! -EM

  5. Great letter! I was reading a lot about homeschooling recently (to try with my own son) and nearly everything mentioned the importance of engaging in the social celebrations in a child's development. Kids learn valuable skills while their own personalities and traits unfold. Rather than creating a sterile environment of cloned robots constantly forced to focus on academic test scores, children "need" and deserve the things that help them actually enjoy learning and the school environment. I think we can all remember how "magical" childhood is. When this is stripped away, the consequences can only be disastrous. Why can't educators simply embrace the differences and diversities (this would surely impress children - let them know it is okay to learn about and respect variations to what they are familiar with)? How hard is it, really, to take 3 minutes and verbally introduce historical influences to celebrations, cultural differences in approach, etc? It doesn't have to be "about" religions, but creating a sterile "Winter Celebration" (as some schools have attempted) leaves little room for true enjoyment or true expression...and especially denies our kids the ability to explore variations to what they already know. Will certain songs be eliminated due to the words in them? Our entire human history is laced with spirituality of some kind. Shall we not teach about the founding fathers of America any longer because someone might be offended that they were mostly deists or freemasons? I think the best answer to this dilemma is education (without impressing a "viewpoint"), NOT elimination.

  6. I think it could be good to have secular holiday celebrations, some holidays have both religious and secular backgrounds, and still other holidays are becoming more secular with their being more rooted in commercialism. If you just use the secular aspects of the holiday, you could leave out the religion while still enjoying something fun. Also allowing an absence during the celebration that wouldn't be counted against them might help too. So that those that don't want to participate don't have to.

  7. Interesting comments ladies. Thank you. The board meeting is tomorrow evening -- fitting that it falls on the super new moon. Let's hope the gravitational pull is positive and tips the scales in favor of keeping childhood celebrations alive!! -- Em

  8. UPDATE: The school board was a bit surprised at the overwhelming response by parents in regards to the pending policy changes affecting celebrations in the schools. Because of the comments, letters and emails received, they are holding off on a decision until after further discussion and a review of current policies. !!!

  9. I can understand some policies in place. I don't want my child to be put on Santa's lap or be talked about how "Jesus was born this day". But there is still a way to celebrate these holidays in a secular way. I don't believe we should eradicate all fun and tradition just because a few have a problem with it. And Valentines day? I know the St. Valentine connection but I've never considered it anything more than a commercial holiday designed to take your money and tell others how much you love them.

    My DD's school has banned all "EVIL" or "Scary" costumes. Which means no WITCH costumes which is just stupid. Whats Halloween without witches? lol I don't want to dress up to be a nurse or doctor and neither does DD.