As the nation around them celebrates Christmas, students who attend P.S. 169 in Brooklyn will not, thanks to the edicts of a principal who also banned Thanksgiving and abolished the traditional recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance.
“We are in America. We’re supposed to be proud of where we are. We have all these immigrants coming into our school, we understand their beliefs, but we are in America and we’re supposed to keep the American dream alive,” said PTA President of the school Mimi Ferrer, who said uttering the words “Merry Christmas” is not permitted in the school.
The changes took place when Eujin Kim was named principal in 2014. Winter celebrations replaced Christmas parties. A Harvest Festival replaced the school’s Thanksgiving celebration.
Ferrer said on Fox & Friends Monday that Kim’s orders are depriving children of traditions as well as opportunities to show their talents and give everyone something to look forward to at ceremonies and special occasions.
Roughly 95 percent of the students at P.S. 169 are Asian or Hispanic. However, the New York City Department of Education has issued guidelines that encourage promoting all forms of celebration. It permits holiday symbols including Christmas trees, 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.
P.S. 169 added to that list. Business manager Johanna Bjorken told the staff, “In case you are wondering about grey areas: Santa Claus is considered an ‘other religious figure.’”
A city official said, however, Santa is not banned by the city.
Joseph Iorio, a former assistant principal and past acting principal, said New York State Assemblyman Felix Ortiz visited the school “many times” as Santa.
Iorio said students lead the Pledge of Allegiance every Monday morning. Kim ended that.
h/t: Fox News
BCN editor’s note: This article first appeared at Western Journalism.