Californians apparently werenâ€™t feeling the Christmas spirit during Merry Susan Hyattâ€™s five-month carol initiative signature collection effort.
The measure failed Friday when the final signature count turned out to be only half a percent of the required 433,971, according to the secretary of stateâ€™s office. In all, 2,176 signatures were collected in California between Nov. 2 and March 29.
Hyatt is a retired substitute teacher from Riverside who now lives in Redding. She announced her initiative drive in November, saying schools needed to provide children with the opportunity to listen to Christmas carols during the Christmas season.
Hyatt, who wouldnâ€™t give her age, said it didnâ€™t make sense to celebrate the birthday of Jesus without inviting him to the party, and she believed bringing Jesus back into the classroom was the only way to curb violence among children.
The initiative would have forced schools to provide children the opportunity to listen to or perform Christmas carols and would have subjected the schools to litigation if the rule wasnâ€™t followed.
Americans United for Separation of Church and State, along with other similar groups, opposed the measure and said it was blatantly unconstitutional.
In December, Hyatt joined forces with the Redding Tea Party Patriots to enhance signature-collecting efforts.
â€œUnfortunately, I think we got involved too late,â€ said Tea Party Patriots President Erin Ryan of Redding.
Hyatt said it was difficult finding people in other counties willing to partner with her. She said she thinks having paid signature collectors would have helped as well.
â€œI think you need to pay people because I had volunteers, and Iâ€™d call them and they wouldnâ€™t have anything,â€ she said.
Hyatt said she is disappointed but wonâ€™t try again next year.