Skip to comments.Teacher defends "Santa" remarks (Full, unedited statement)
Posted on 12/26/2005 8:11:14 AM PST by Conservatrix
To the Editor:
"Last week I substituted at a local elementary school in Lebanon County. The lesson plan required me to read the 1882 poem The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore to two classes of students. While I can appreciate the poem for its literary value, the subject matter is offensive to me, and the reading of this poem to the children imposed values upon me which are against my deeply held religious beliefs. I could not in good conscience present the notion of Santa Claus as a truth to the children, and stated so.
No public school teacher should be required to teach a belief, or custom, or religion that he or she believes to be false, or be required to pass those purported falsehoods onto impressionable children, without the right to state a disclaimer. Furthermore, freedom of speech and religion, no matter how unpopular the speech or against cultural norms the religion, are protected rights under the Constitution of the United States. A secular public school should not be propagating any kind of religion. The belief in Santa Claus as a divine, magical, omniscient, powerful, giving, loving father-figure, to which children are taught to make supplications and requests, is a religion indeed-- a distorted substitute for the Judeo-Christian God; a false form of Christianity; a zealously-protected American idol.
In presenting the poem, I gave the children quick historical background about the Santa Claus myth-- its evolution from the historic Nickolaus, Bishop of Myrna in Asia Minor, who died in 343 A.D., to its amalgamation with ancient Western pagan traditions of German, Scandinavian and Dutch origins, to the current manifestation in the secular Christmas culture of today. (Dutch children, for example, would put their wooden shoes out at night for Sante Klaus to fill with candies.)
The current Santa Claus figure was popularized in the late 19th Century by artist Thomas Nast of Harpers Weekly Magazine, who depicted Saint Nick, not as an elf, but a rotund, pipe-smoking man in a red and white suit. This is the deity to which countless public school children today are taught to make supplications, and about whom they sing their many songs at annual public school Christmas programs.
If people are upset about the revelation to children that Santa Claus is a myth-- which all children who are taught this lie find or figure out eventually-- perhaps it is because Santa is that zealously-guarded idol of their own modern religion. Therefore, as a religion, let Santa be kept out of the public school classroom (no more Dear Santa letters to line those school hallways)--or perhaps, in the interest of diversity, make his mythical, oversized personage share equal representation in literature, and song, and Christmas programs, with the other Person of the season: the Lord Jesus Christ, God made flesh, God with us."
"That is Santa, my friend, and nothing else."
1. Santa sees you when you are sleeping.
2. Santa knows when youa re awake.
3. Santa knows when you have been bad or good.
4. Santa gives you presents at Christmas.
4. Santa is all over the world at once giving things to children everywhere.
5. You ask Santa for things.
Sounds like a religion to me. THINK ABOUT IT.
Is there any doubt in anyone's mind that she has told these youngsters that the US invaded Iraq to get their oil?"
No, she did not. She voted for George Bush and is a conservative republican Christian.
***Yeah, I bet she IS because she says so. She talking the leftist/atheist argument right down the line. (Key and code words) Therefore proving two extreme opposing lines extended into infinity meet finitely at a single vortex - syntheized.
You personally know the TEACHER who imposes her belief over the school's curriculum? You'd vouch with your life for her?
Agreed. How many other 'myths' in the guise of teaching literature have we endured in school? We read the Iliad etc. and we know the gods within are not real. Would this teacher also have a cow over the teaching of these? Further, a child receives gifts at Christmas - from Santa Claus. These free gifts are direcltly related to the FREE gift of redemption which derives from Christ's birth on Christmas. But how many 6 year olds are ready to grasp or can understand this? How does a 6 year old grasp the Resurrection or the Holy Trinity? What do they know of life and death? Santa Claus is our culture's transition point for young minds to appreciate gifts and giving. In my faith, children are ready to make the decision to be baptised at the age of 13. Similarly, in the Jewish faith, young men are Bar Mitzvahed at 13. NOT before. Is there are reason that they wait so long for this? I believe so. But until then, Santa is just fine.
While I can appreciate the poem for its literary value, the subject matter is offensive to me.
One the better humor threads of 2005.
When you say 'she,' you are referring to this substitute teacher who told the children their parents were lying to them?
And she takes it out on the kids.
I'm not saying you would end up changing your mind as a result of the article. But you might back off your pathetically holier-than-thou attitude about the contrary view.
Uh, I believed until I was 7 or 8. My daughter just found out at 8, and she is one of the only kids in her class. Kids LIKE to believe in Santa and don't easily give it up.
That said, I DO kind-of have a problem with Santa in the public schools and that is that they keep the "fun" parts of Christmas and totally disassociate it from the religious. My daughter attended public school for one year and the principal told them that there were giant gingerbread men roaming the school at night, leaving notes for the kids and etc. I had one heck of a time convincing my daughter that was made-up BS.
You fulfill parts of my prediction as to responses exactly. Your point is always made in defending the Santa-lie, and is so easily answered that one wonders as well at its tenacity.
So what, in anything that I actually suggested, hinted that I think that children should always be told all possible details about every area of life in the first conversation?
And is it really true that, in your thinking, you only have two options -- lie to children, or tell them everything that can be told about everything in your first conversation on the topic?
And, finally, to answer your question: I never lie to my children. Never. And they have an exceptionally rich fantasy life. I just teach them that some things are fun make-believe, some things are true, and there is a crucial difference.
"Santa is being brought up as an innocent fun tradition, there is no secret intent on the school's part to replace God with Santa."
Incorrect point. #1. To some people, telling chidlren to belive in someone who sees them when they're sleeping, knows when they're awak., who can read their prayers in a letter and answer them, is not "innocent fun"' it is a type of religion and idolatry to Christians.
#2. Schools may not be replacing God with Santa but they are teaching children to treat him as if he were some kind of god.
BTW isn't Christmas the TRADITIONAL time of celebration the birth of the Savior of the world?
Less paying attention to their teachers would tend to raise those scores, IMO.
My 9-year-old's teacher didn't have a problem with Santa Claus, but when it came time to teach multiplication she taught them about the Tin Man and the Magic Zero. I sat in on a lesson because my normally bright child was having so much trouble learning multiplication and when we worked together at home he was thoroughly confused.
After hearing what his teacher was teaching him, the Tin Man and the Magic Zero crap, I told him to just forget it all and I'd teach him. Now he's got it. ;-)
People are free to believe what they want. And if there is a family out there who believes that Santa Claus is god, it is not up to a substitute teacher to decide to tell children he's not. Read the poem, draw the check for filling in for a day and keep your beliefs to yourself.
How is this different from an atheist substitute teacher announcing to the kids that God isn't real and Jesus didn't rise from the dead? After all, that's what an atheist substitue would believe.
As luck would have it it is online.
Where do you get the idea that she was forced to teach this assignment? She was asked to read a poem. She had options. 1. read it; 2. ask for an alternate assignment; 3. ask for a different class. There are always several substitutes in a school on any given day.
The option she did not have was to force her religious beliefs on six year olds.
Gee, do I detect a serious issue of liberal narcissism here?
Why is this not surprising? Why is it that whenever somthing good is celebrated, a minion like this has to spew bile all over it?
This witch is evil.
I once had an art teacher in high school (1981) that regularly put up a small Christmas tree in her classroom. She unilateraly quit doing so because one student disagreed - she was never bitter over the issue; however, she always wore red and green during the Christmas season ;-)
Why do you insist Santa's taught as a God substitute? Isn't that a stretch? And it's scary, too. I'd stand in line right beside you in the matter of commercialization of Christmas and the fact that radio stations start in around Thanksgiving, ramming Christmas carols and especially the nauseating 'Santa Baby' down our throats for more than a month. As for small kids, perhaps you have a point and some fantasize about Santa being right up there with Jesus and the Holy Ghost, but in the long run isn't that a matter for parents to straighten out?
You seem to know an awful lot about this teacher. Do you also live in the south central PA region? (where Lebanon, PA is located)
I see you never got an answer to your question...I hope this doesn't surprise you.
Merry Christmas...even though it is a day late.