Scroogey Elementary School PTA Bans Red And Green In An Epic War Against Holidays

Man is running with a burning christmas tree out of the house.

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

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    • CMJ
      • Bethany Ramos

        This is the best GIF of all time.

      • Emmali Lucia

        God that’s like half my family right there….

      • brebay

        I think this is my state’s official motto…

    • JustAGuest

      I’d rather see a true plurality of holidays than banning this. If we have students of other faiths, then encourage them to come talk about their holidays! Figure out how to incorporate them into the school! Hint: kids love holidays. Extra holidays would probably be awesome to them. It just seems like we could do this so much better than either outright banning stuff or just giving lip service by having a Christmas pageant with one Hannukah song in it.

      • AP

        In college, the dining hall used to celebrate Diwali. It was one of the best nights of the year- delicious food, music, decorations. Yum.

      • Guestguest

        Did you go to UofL? I loved our Diwali celebrations every year, SO delicious and FUN!

      • NicknamesAreDull

        My daughter goes to a Catholic school and they teach about different religions’ holidays. I think it’s totally awesome.

      • Ddaisy

        That’s exactly what I was thinking.
        Banning all mention of any holiday is just being equally oppressive to all groups of people. Wouldn’t it be better to be equally celebratory?
        I’m currently teaching English in Korea, and our hagwon celebrates western and Korean holidays with equal aplomb. It’s freaking fantastic. We learn about their traditions, they learn about ours, everyone has a great time, holidays all around! :D

    • Sara610

      This is idiotic. For one thing, how are they going to enforce this rule? If a kid wears a red hat and green socks, is that okay? Is it just mixing of red and green in the same garment? Are kids going to be reporting each other for wishing a friend a Merry Christmas? I’m with JustAGuest below–why not have a holiday party and include as many different holiday traditions as there’s a call for? Jewish kids can bring in latkes and gelt. Kids who celebrate Kwanzaa can bring in foods and teach greetings associated with Kwanzaa. Christian kids can wish each other a Merry Christmas (or not, whatever) and bring in chocolate Santas or candy canes Jesus-shaped pancakes or whatever it is that kids eat on Christmas.

      There are people of all different faiths, who celebrate all different holidays, and when kids get out into the real world they’re going to need to be able to embrace and appreciate that diversity. This seems incredibly counterproductive and illogical. And I’m with you, Eve–I never thought the day would come when I would agree with Fox News about ANYTHING.

    • kay

      The one hard thing can be when you’ve got a ton of Jehovah’s Witnesses in a school-I worked at one and they don’t celebrate ANY holidays. They did things like have separate “winter” activities in the library during the Christmas program, kept all Halloween celebrating at an after-school “harvest fest”, etc. The hardest was that you couldn’t sing them happy birthday-other kids in the class could understand that some people don’t do christmas and whatnot, but not doing birthdays blew their minds (I don’t know if we had especially strict/observant families in our school, but with the kids I worked with even celebrating birthdays was wrong). With things like that where you’ve got a lot of kids who can’t do any celebrating it’s difficult. But like I said, we still had things, and made sure that things like missing the christmas program didn’t feel like a punishment.

      • Aldonza

        I have a friend who I went to elementary school who was Jehovah’s witness and his parents used to keep him home from school on certain “holiday” days. He never came on Christmas or St. Patrick’s Day, and he was usually out the day before some of the other big ones. Of course, this was the late 80s when they still called it “Christmas Break”

    • momjones

      Don’t fall into the “Fox” hole:

      ” ‘Wednesday, the school district emailed FOX 4 a response regarding the party rules, saying:

      ‘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.’ “

      • brebay

        Season’s Greetings!

    • Theresa Green

      Remind me never to move to Texas. Why the blue blazes infernal does this kinda [manure] happen in Texas anyways?

    • Rachel Sea

      You’d think they were gang colors.

      By heritage I’m Jewish, and in practice I’m something between pagan and atheist, and I don’t care if branches of government celebrate Christmas, as long as they keep Jesus out of it. American Christmas has PLENTY of bits that are totally secular, and therefore inoffensive..

    • Heather

      Ehh, the kids probably don’t care. They’ll get to skip out on some classwork and maybe eat some snacks in class. Maybe they’ll get to do some winter related arts and crafts (making snowflakes and snowmen) that are not religiously oriented. The people who care are the people who aren’t really affected in any way.

      While the author of this article is trying to spin this as students not being allowed to even WEAR red and/or green to school, my interpretation of the statement is that the colors will not be used in decorating. Which is no big deal. So they aren’t putting trees in the school. Who cares. While school should be engaging and make learning as fun as possible, it really isn’t the kind of place that should be decorated to the hilt for any holiday, religious or not.

    • Kay_Sue

      It seems like in a society where we are trying to encourage tolerance and pluralism, we’d be better able to balance the two extremes versus caving to one side or the other. It’s about everyone’s beliefs being viable and valid.

    • FF4life

      I always thought silver and blue were more fun holiday colors anyway. I can live without red and green.

      • brebay

        Love the blue and silver. I throw the fuschia in there too!

    • brebay

      What the hell? It was already legal to say all those things in a public school. Douchey McClown stirring shit up instead of fixing real problems in Texass.