Santa Claus is banned. The Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited. “Harvest festival” has replaced Thanksgiving, and “winter celebrations” substitute for Christmas parties.
New principal Eujin Jaela Kim has given PS 169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a politically correct scrub-down, to the dismay of teachers and parents.
“We definitely can’t say Christmas, nothing with Christmas on it, nothing with Santa,” PTA president Mimi Ferrer said administrators told her. “No angels. We can’t even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David.”
A memo last month from assistant principal Jose Chaparro suggested a “harvest festival instead of Thanksgiving or a winter celebration instead of a Christmas party.” He urged staff to “be sensitive of the diversity of our families. Not all children celebrate the same holidays.”
Ninety-five percent of the 1,600 kids at PS 169 are Asian or Hispanic.
In a recent directive to all schools, the city Department of Education said it permits holiday symbols including Christmas trees, kinaras (candleholders for Kwanzaa), dreidels, Hanukkah menorahs and the Islamic star-and-crescent. Displays that “depict images of deities, religious figures or religious texts” are prohibited.