Kamloops-Thompson (British Columbia) school trustees have no intention of stirring up the same controversy as their Chilliwack counterparts by renaming the upcoming December holiday Christmas break.
“We’re so multicultural. It’s not Christmas to some people,” vice chairwoman Diane Dosch said Sunday.
The School District 73 website refers to the holiday as winter break. Dosch and other trustees interviewed by The Daily News say this has been the case for as long as they can remember.
The religiously neutral title is also used on the Ministry of Education calendar.
Trustees in Chilliwack are in hot water because they voted to call the break Christmas holidays. The Chilliwack Teachers Federation and the Parent Advisory Council dislike the decision, saying it’s important to be sensitive to various beliefs within the community.
Trustees in Kamloops agree. Dosch said she doesn’t bemoan Chilliwack trustees for trying something different, but has no intention of rocking the boat here.
“It doesn’t need to be discussed,” she said. “That’s just calling for trouble when you don’t need it.”
Trustee Kathleen Karpuk said Chilliwack has a prominent Christian community, which is perhaps why trustees there felt the need for a change.
But Kamloops is a diverse city and she believes it’s important to respect all cultures, said Karpuk.
Trustee Denise Harper said renaming the holiday Christmas break might delight Christians but it would likely offend others who believe religion has no place in schools.
Holidays in the school calendar are named after the seasons in which they occur. Chairman Ken Christian said it’s been that way for the 18 years he’s been on the school board.
“It’s not to be a connotation about religion one way or the other. It’s what those breaks are named after,” he said.
Winter break begins Dec. 20.