An elementary school PTA in Frisco, TX has banned the colors red and green, as well as Christmas trees, from their “winter party.” Aaaaand now everyone is getting their reindeer-print pajamas in a bunch, calling “WAR ON CHRISTMAS.”
The rules go against a recent TX law, HB 308, or the Merry Christmas Law. Signed into law by Governor Rick Perry (ew), it “…allows students and staff at schools in Texas to say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” and “Happy holidays,” according to MyFoxDFW.com. So obviously, people are quite up in arms about the school’s policy. And it’s not only Christmas that’s been banned; An email from the winter party’s organizer said that references to any religious holiday were not allowed.
I hate to ever ever ever agree with Fox News, but I have to say I think these kinds of bans are ridiculous. Do not get me wrong, I am all for the separation of church and state. I try super hard to be inclusive of other religions and cultures around the holiday season, even though I basically celebrate Christmas as a secular holiday. I go out of my way to say “Happy Holidays!” rather than “Merry Christmas!” I totally get that some children who don’t celebrate Christmas might be offended if they see Christmas trees in their classroom decor.
But they can’t mention ANY holidays at all? Can’t a holiday party have some dang red and green because that’s the colors that represent the season…not to everyone, no, but in a greater cultural sense? I don’t know, maybe that’s really naive of me. But the school doesn’t seem to want to have menorahs, kinara, or the traditional decorations of other religions at the party, either, so why the specific language about red and green?
I remember I heard a few years ago that my elementary school had recently stopped the annual Halloween parade through the neighborhood. I was crushed. That was my ultimate favorite thing to do when I was a kid, wear my costume and parade through the streets with all the moms and old people who lived around the school waving and oohing and ahhing. I understood why they discontinued the parade, but it still seems such a goddamn shame that holiday fun is getting pushed out of schools, even if they are public schools.
I don’t know if I’d call this “political correctness gone too far,” like Texas Rep. Pat Fallon did and sure Bill O’Reilly and his dudebros would, but it certainly seems on the ridiculous side. I mean, are children not to wear red and green to school? Can they not bring in cookies decorated with Christmas trees or red and green? It just seems way too difficult to enforce, even if the regulations are made with the best and purest of intentions of inclusiveness.
The school says the rules were not an official policy:
“The school was unaware of this and it was not an official PTA correspondence either. There have never been any limitations on what students wear, what they bring to share with their classmates on party days … what greetings people exchange with each other.”
But Rep. Fallon says the rules are still in place. He says he received an email that said:
“She [the principal] said they didn’t want to offend any families and since each family donates money they feel this is the best policy,”
Like I said, I understand why this school is being cautious, but it sill seems like it’s sapping the fun out of the holiday season.
Photo: U. Baumgarten via Getty Images