A traditional Christmas carol is at the center of a controversy at an elementary school in Michigan. The music teacher decided to change the lyrics to “Deck The Halls” because one particular word had the students giggling.
The music teacher at Cherry Knoll Elementary School removed the the word gay: changing the verse to “Don we now our bright apparel” rather than “gay apparel.”
“There were some students that had been snickering at the lyrics to deck the halls, she had been attempted to get them back on track quite a few times, and just decided to make a change in the wording,” said principal Chris Parker.
Parker says when he found out the lyric had been change, he immediately talked with the teacher. “I had not heard of the subtitution of the word bright before in that song it sort of caught me by surprise,” said Parker.
Parker wishes the teacher would have used the situation as a teachable moment — the word gay in the carol means happy or joyful.
“We have an anti-bullying and discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, so going forward the teacher will be addressing, this is how we’re supposed to be reacting, this is a way to be respectful about this.”
Many parents thought the teacher’s decision to change the lyrics was completely inappropriate. Some said they were now taking time to explain to their children that gay is not a bad word.
“There was a different way to handle that, and a different decision that could have been made,” said Parker, who had the teacher go back to using the original lyrics.