Saturday, December 3, 2016

Oregon School's Santa Stance Causes Controversy

Title:Oregon School's Santa Stance Causes Controversy
Author: KGW-TV, Portland, Ore (Unknown)
Date: 12/1/2016

Key Point: This local story in Hillsboro, OR school district's made national news was picked up by USA Today after it went viral. The “controversy” started when district administrator and educators were call to back off on the use of Santa in holiday decorating in their school in a memo.
Beth Graser, a District Spokesman stated the memo was sent out to personnel as a reminder to be sensitive about the environments created in the school over the holiday season,and this isn’t a new policy.  She also stated that Christmas decorations was getting excessive and overwhelming, which was making visitors and students that do not celebrate Christmas uncomfortable.  

Relevance: Student from all ethnic and religious backgrounds should be comfortable to come to school. Public schools should be neutral and recognize other cultural traditions. Hillsboro has a diverse population of students and all should be equally represented in the school during the holiday. Restricting school from using Santa is a manufactured “controversy” that allow for people to complain on the internet. We should be using the holidays to teach student to learn about their peers cultures and not exclude them.


  1. I think that they message from the school district had good intentions as far as being sensitive and thoughtful, but I agree, this is a great opportunity to teach and learn about other cultures. The issue that I do see goes beyond honoring a culture icon. The idea of Santa is that if you are good, he will bring you awesome toys. For those students who do not yet understand Santa’s “secret”, what goes through their minds when they hear of all of their peers receiving awesome gifts, yet year after year they do not receive anything, no matter how good they are being? Some children may celebrate Christmas but financially, families can’t provide that magic.

    The holidays are a wonderful time and I think that it is an wonderful opportunity to learn about all of the different traditions and holidays. It is also a time to be extra mindful of your students and understanding who they are and making this time extra special for all of them.

  2. I felt the way the school handled it was tactful and I do understand why they are trying to have more of a holiday theme throughout the school as opposed to just Christmas type of decorations. In our school there is also a push to celebrate ALL holidays around this time, not just Christmas. Also, in our classroom we have themed months and this month our books and sujects are surrounding all the holidays such as Kwanza, Hanukkah etc. I think it is very important at times like these when different cultures are celebrating different values for our students to learn about ALL different types of holidays.
    Interesting post, and I agree with the school's take on this matter and hope more schools look into being more diverse culturally when it comes to the holiday season.

  3. This was a good move by the district and it was handled well. Granted, the holidays can be over the top from time to time and need to be reined in. Students and teachers should feel comfortable to be who they are in school, but I don't think that there should be anyone pushing their beliefs on others. This can prove to be more trouble than it's worth and become a tumultuous time because of the holidays. Just be careful out there.