Dec 03

Monday Musing: Christmas in Schools

ChristmasAs a school teacher I get to see the changes first hand in the educational process.  I then compare it to my own educational experience I had as a child.  While there have been some good changes like the use of technology in the classroom and not so good changes like the number of state standardized tests, I think some tests are necessary to keep students and teachers accountable but when the kiddos are doing over a dozen of them throughout the year that is a lot of learning time taken up checking out what they have learned.

One thing that I have noticed over the years is this constant push to take Christmas out of school, and I understand why they are doing it, but that does not mean that I like it.  Ever since the Supreme Court flipped in the 1948 case McCollum v Board of Education 71 from allowing the states to do pretty much whatever they wanted with regards to having religion- from having the 10 Commandments up, to a nativity scene in the town square, to allowing the public school to put up a Christmas tree to basically allowing nothing unless there is room for everything else including a blank space for atheism.  So today if a public entity puts up anything religious there is a chance they might be sued so why bother.

I remember elementary school, which was a public one by the way, the classrooms would be decorated and on the last day of school before Christmas break the school would watch a Christmas movie and then sing Christmas carols.  In middle school, I remember several teachers would play Christmas music during their classes and by the time I reached high school most of that had changed.  It was no longer called Christmas break it was now winter break there were no decorations and definitely no Christmas music.  I do not want that for my child or children if I am blessed enough to have another one.  I want M to be able to have a traditional Christmas, one where when she goes to school they allow Christmas songs and celebrations.  With the way things are now that means she might have to go to a private school or be home schooled.

Now for all those people that might be reading this and thinking that I only care about my child and what about those atheist children out there or kids from different religions feeling uncomfortable seeing a Christmas tree.  Well it is not that I do not care about those kids, but in life there are lots of things that will make a person feel uncomfortable one of the facts of life is learning how to hold onto your values while tolerating the values of others.  Now for those that say the law of the land says the government cannot promote a religion.  If that is truly the case then if Christmas falls on a weekday every state and federal office should be open.  Having Christmas as a national holiday is promoting the day, so why can that part of Christmas be upheld while all of the other things from a bygone age of celebrating Christmas in the public square be disallowed by the court system?  I just cannot figure that out  maybe somebody out there can explain it to me why a federal judge would outlaw a nativity scene but not make it unconstitutional for Christmas to be a federal holiday don’t they go together?  if you cannot separate the two then they both should be upheld.

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