My sister-in-law's email to Rachelle and me
Within her note to us my sister-in-law attached a couple of emails between herself and her daughter's teacher. The emails explain the events that occurred last week within my nieces' classroom. I commend my sister-in-law for the proactive steps she took to correct a problem that, if others choose to ignore, could become a universal problem within public schools in America.
December 7, 2009
Dear Wade and Rachelle,
I would like for you to write about the direction we seem to be going in the public schools in regards to "Christmas" (see attached emails). We may have stopped it in our school district this year, but the scary thing is that it was not as easy to stop in the school district from which our daughter's teacher came. Is it possible that this is the trend throughout the US? Absolutely, I believe we are just at the forefront of this issue. It wasn't too long ago we were able to pray before football games and school board meetings. Soon, nobody will be able to use the word "Christmas" without being punished--unless we do something about it. Please make sure my name, school and school district are not used on the blog.
Love you guys...
The email from my sister-in-law to her daughter's teacher
December 2, 2009The teacher's response to my sister-in-law's email.
My husband and I are greatly concerned about a situation that occurred yesterday in your classroom and we were hoping you could let us know if our daughter, _______, was relating the information correctly.
Our daughter told us last night that during class she had been talking about Christmas break and at that time you told her that it was not appropriate to say "Christmas Break" but to refer to it as "Holiday Break". Later during the same class, she said it again. You again informed her that it wasn't appropriate and if she said "Christmas Break" once more she would be sent to the office. ______ was upset but she tells us that she made the correct choice by not being disrespectful when you told her you would send her to the office if she said the word “Christmas” again.
We are Christians and in our home we have always referred to the break as “Christmas” vacation. Our daughter's perception from you was that she was using an “inappropriate” word. We certainly understand why the school disctrict uses the "Holiday" or "Winter Break" terminology as we have a multitude of students from different cultures that celebrate many different religions. However we believe our daughter has every right to refer to this break as her “Christmas” break as we would expect her to respect a Jewish student referring to this break as a “Holiday” break.
Our daughter was very upset and confused with your warning and why this would be something worthy of being sent to the office.
We would really like to understand what happened yesterday in your classroom so please email or call at your earliest convenience.
December 2, 2009My sister-in-law's second email to her daughter's teacher
I apologize for your daughter being upset. I should have explained to her more in class the policy of why the school district uses Holiday and not Christmas. I had asked her a few times to not refer to it as Christmas in class and would have done the same if it was a different religion. I have not been with the district long enough to know how serious they are with the use of Christmas in the class but I came from a school district where I was reprimanded for students mentioning anything religious in the classroom and I didn’t want that to happen again. At the time when I said I would send her to the office that was the quickest way I could think of to stop the behavior which is a tactic I had used before with other students for different situations. Again I am sorry that this situation happened.
December 2, 2009The teacher's final, three word email in response to my sister-in-law's second email
Thank you for responding so quickly to my email. As a teacher for this district for the past nine years, I can tell you that this school district is very conscious of respecting all of our students and their beliefs. However, it has never been a policy that I am aware of that tells students they are not allowed to mention anything related to their religion in class. It is my experience that we celebrate our students' differences and find many teachable moments by talking about them.
I am not completely clear from your email if my daughter will still get reprimanded if she says the word "Christmas" in your classroom. Please clarify
December 2, 2009In light of my last post, I confess neither surprise nor fear over the secularization of America. My identity in Christ supercedes my identity as an American. I confess, however, that the problems faced by my niece last week in her classroom makes me want to say "Merry Christmas" to whomever I meet and do all I can to ensure the continued freedom of all to say "Merry Christmas" whenever and wherever they please.
No she won't.
In His Grace,