Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Public School Politics

Yet another reason why Catholic/private education is a priority in our family.

An Oak Lawn, Illinois school district is dispensing with traditional holiday names in favor of politically correct or "more inclusive" euphemisms.

This article was forwarded to me via you-know-who.

Oak Lawn Schools Cancel Holiday Traditions

(CBS) OAK LAWN, Ill. A southwest suburban school district has taken action, responding to the concerns of a Muslim parent.

But now, as CBS 2's Suzanne Le Mignot reports, other parents are angry that traditional school holidays will be renamed or even eliminated.

"That does not represent all the Muslims, all of the Arabs at that school," said Qais Nofel, the father of a student in Ridgeland School District 122.

There was some heated discussion between parents outside Columbus Manor Elementary School in Oak Lawn on Friday. The thought of no more traditional holiday celebrations has many parents really upset.

For now, children in Ridgeland School District 122 will celebrate fall festival instead of Halloween and winter festival instead of Christmas.

Brenda Elvidge said, "It's not fair to our kids. This is America and that's an American tradition."

The decision affects the children at four elementary schools in Oak Lawn and one junior high school in Bridgeview.

The district has a 30 percent Arab-American population, many of whom practice Islam. The superintendent says the reason for the change in tradition comes after one parent wanted Ramadan decorations put up inside Columbus Manor Elementary. They were taken down.

Superintendent Tom Smyth said, "I go back to our policy which says that public schools are to remain neutral in this respect."

Ridgeland School District 122 has called for an emergency meeting on the issue, to be held on Tuesday.

Meantime, Muslim children are being allowed to pray during what's being called their own time, that's lunch time, during Ramadan.

Parent June Quigley said, "They get to pray in our schools. That is religion in a public school."

Muslim parents have different views on the issue.

Sala Abour said, "To take away Halloween and Christmas from little kids, that is very wrong."

Nofel said, "We go and we celebrate the holidays and traditions here, but we do have the right to be Muslims as well."

Other parents say the controversy is overshadowing what really needs to be addressed at all five schools in the district.

Ronnie Carroll said, "The fact that they are cash strapped. Our classroom size is way above the average mean, 38 children in our first grade classroom. The concern should be our school, not the whole holiday issues."

Those issues along with the holiday controversy are going to be addressed at a school board meeting on Tuesday. Members will decide if holidays will be celebrated or not.

Meantime, the Illinois PTA district director says the state is now investigating this issue and there's a meeting with the superintendent next week.
(© MMVII, CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved.)


Anonymous said...

The news on this is old. Plus the school district never made the decision to change anything. I called them myself and attended their board meeting. Christmas is still Christmas and Halloween is still Halloween. Hopefully the school district can get back to what they should be worried about.....the education of the children!

Leigh said...

I'm not sure what you mean about "the news on this is old". This item was posted within a day or two of its placement on The Drudge Report. I agree that school districts should be in the business of educating children but it seems that there is a pervasive political agenda as to what that very education should entail. There is also a clear effort to eliminate all Christian references as well as other quintessential, American traditions from the public school experience. I find this unacceptable and patently un-American. So, I'm glad to hear that our traditions have retained their namesakes in this school district. However, I would be very surprised if this is the last time the issue is raised. What's more, important Christian holidays are being re-named as Winter and Spring break in schools across the country--as we speak. Again, I submit...yet another reason why my children attend a faith based school.Thanks for your comment.