Such a sad tale of woe. A Boston-area parent, Deborah Seri, logged a complaint with the Superintendent of schools in Milford, Massachusetts because her daughter was exposed to an Elf on the Shelf in her classroom.
“My daughter was the only one in the class who didn’t celebrate Christmas,” Seri said. “It made her feel awkward; it made her feel like she was the only one.”
So the school board responded by promising to take a look at district policy regarding Christmas decorations, symbols, and displays in public schools.
This comes only after having changed the policy just last summer. Among the new restrictions: Religious symbols or displays were not permitted in public spaces, in spaces visible from the outside of the school, or on teacher-generated materials, except those related to curriculum on religion or culture.
That Elf on the Shelf, you know, is such a world-wide religious symbol.
Now they are going at it again this summer. And nobody, it seems, is happy.
Gee, we wonder why.
Last Christmas, staff in the school district was paranoid about what they could and could not do during the holidays. Cafeteria workers at a high school circulated a petition in December to fight for holiday decorations in the cafeteria — annual decorations that were now prohibited. So many people complained, in fact, that the school board promised to take up the policy again this summer.
The district has come up with an even more restrictive policy proposal this time around.
Committee member Scott Harrison said during the May meeting that Milford is a town of religious diversity and that a policy like the one facing approval is not inclusive of minority religions, but rather exclusive of all religions.
“This seems to be a solution in search of a problem. I understand that there has been, at least to my knowledge, a complaint that has come through, and I get that and we want to be respectful,” he said. “This seems to have a lot of exclusionary language that goes along with it.”
The policy, Harrison said, is too open to interpretation about what constitutes a religious symbol or religious holiday.
In other words, all anyone has to do is claim that ANY symbol favors a certain religion — and all hell will break loose. Even though the Supreme Court has said time and time again that Santa, snowmen, Christmas trees and other such iconic elements of Christmas are, in fact, secular the new policy in Milford would make anything — the color RED — an offense.
People on both sides of the argument do agree — this policy would effectively ban Santa Claus.
And that would push Milford to the forefront of the War on Christmas in 2017.
Someone would take that to court.
And Milford would lose in court.
Watch how fast things change once the threat of lawsuits and money gets involved.
Then you’ll see real principled action.
It happens every time.