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."
The point is she had no RIGHT to do this. It was NOT her business, and she had no authority to do so. She is messing with OTHER PEOPLE'S decisions about their children.
"From reply #1
1) what public school is doing by promoting Santa Claus is promoting a form of religion; that 2) religion should not be promoted in public school; 3) a teacher should not be required to promote a religion in public school; and 4) the lesson plan requiring me to promote Santa Claus was imposing religion on me, not the other way around."
IF Santa was only a custom people would not be getting so upset.
Then kids who couldn't care less about your religious beliefs won't be forced to suffer through your pomposity.
If you were my kids teacher and you pulled this crap, I'd make sure you never darkened the door of another public school.
Now, take your self righteous prattle someplace else because quite frankly you're beginning to bore the hell out of me.
On the contrary, she thinks she is a better parent than any other parent and should usurp the authority of parents.
"And, if this teacher was somewhat sane, she would have brought the matter and her concerns up to her supervisor and like has been pointed out numerous times,
1. Not read the poem
2. Got another class assignment
3. Quit and gone home, realizing she didn't have the sensitivity or temperament to teach children"
She has said that probably would have been a better idea in retrospect.
Precisely. In addition, it is the parents who catch the heat for Santa's missteps, not God. Even children know not to elevate Santa to a religious level. This frustrated substitute teacher should take a lesson from the kids.
It sounds to me like she's upset that she can't tell "the rest of the story," so to speak.
While I don't endorse what she did, I can at least relate to where she's coming from. She seems to feel that it is unfair that the "secular religion" of Santa Claus can be taught, but not the true meaning of Christmas.
And while it's not any of her business, or mine, I also don't think it's particularly smart for parents to teach their kids that Santa Claus is real; they can enjoy the Santa myth as a fairy tale/make believe-type thing, without having to believe in his literal existence. Kids may get the message that if you lied to them about Santa, you may be lying about other things (like the existence of God).
"Now, take your self righteous prattle someplace else because quite frankly you're beginning to bore the hell out of me."
And you are free to take yourself to another thread!
"She has said that probably would have been a better idea in retrospect."
She's not very bright, is she?
Ah, this brings up an interesting point. Are we lying to our kids when we say that Christmas is the day Jesus was born? I mean, the truth is, we really have no idea what day Jesus was born. The best guess is that it was sometime in the spring, given that the shepherds were watching their flocks by night, which is something they did only when they were "in season" (the spring).
Do we have to tell our children, then, as soon as they can possibly comprehend it, that December 25th was in fact a strategic choice made by the 4th century church to counter interest in pagan Saturnalia celebrations?
People are getting upset because you are supporting the point of view that substitute teachers can and should adopt the role of the parent. If a substitute teacher, or a real teacher for that matter, told my child I was a liar, I would be having a very heated discussion with the teacher, the principal, the superintendent and the board of education.
Explain why this substitute teacher has more authority over these children than their parents do!
Six and seven year-olds aren't capable of understanding the concept of the commercialization of Christmas, which be worth while discussing with older kids. I'd still like to know what you think about presenting Kwanza as a legitimate holiday, with full discussion of the founder's background and criminal record...to 6 and 7 year-olds.
I don't think she's a liberal.
It sounds to me like she's upset that she can't tell "the rest of the story," so to speak. While I don't endorse what she did, I can at least relate to where she's coming from. She seems to feel that it is unfair that the "secular religion" of Santa Claus can be taught, but not the true meaning of Christmas. And while it's not any of her business, or mine, I also don't think it's particularly smart for parents to teach their kids that Santa Claus is real; they can enjoy the Santa myth as a fairy tale/make believe-type thing, without having to believe in his literal existence. Kids may get the message that if you lied to them about Santa, you may be lying about other things (like the existence of God)."
HURRAY!!!!!! Someboday got it!
Have a great day ruminating, everyone! Gotta go!
Then she and I agree! :-)
That is irrelevant.
Why do you think that it is acceptable for strangers to make decisions about other people's children??
""He sees you when you're sleeping; he know's when you're awake; he knows when you've been bad or good."... gee, that sound like the God you say you believe in."
Bingo Conservatrix. The God of the Bible plainly states that He is a "Jealous God" who does not look at all kindly on ANY object of worship or veneration puny man chooses to put before Him.
Most folks don't realize that the very attributes of God Almighty are being given to this fictional character. We encourage our kids to believe in this jolly fellow and get downright hostile to anyone who takes exception to the promotion of this sweet "harmless" lie...
I also know that the quickest way to get some folks furious at you, to the point of calling YOU filthy names, is to protest and question the "rightness" of allowing our children to believe Santa Claus is a real, historical person. I am not Scrooge. The life, death, and resurrection of The Lord Jesus Christ is precious to me. Celebrating the birth of the Saviour of Mankind is a precious thing. I don't think the myth of Santa Claus is at all precious.
I watched my grandkids "clean-up" yesterday. They received so many really neat presents. I just want them to remember that, originally, all the presents were given TO Him.