MLK, peace, friendship and anti-bullying replaces holiday program
The long held tradition of a holiday production at Jordan-Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield Massachusetts is no more. Last year’s annual holiday concert drew complaints from some parents who objected to the religious nature of the show. So this year school administrators have scrapped the program, replacing it with an anti-bullying production — in January — to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday week. It will be called a winter concert.
“We certainly haven’t done away with Christmas in Mansfield,” claimed Brenda Hodges, superintendent of Mansfield Public Schools. “We just had a little change at that particular school because they had a big initiative on anti-bullying.”
She denied that complaints about religion had anything to do with the decision. “There were complaints, but if we make changes based on a half dozen complaints, I’d be changing every other day,” she said.
According to Hodges, the music instructors chose MLK week “because he was all about peace.” She said, “They wanted to make the theme around peace, friendship, kindness, be good to your fellow students, and accept differences and be supportive.”
Implausibly, to Hodges, the esteemed Christmas proclamation of “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men” found in Luke 2:14, doesn’t fulfill that theme as well as the views of Martin Luther King — which were based in biblical teaching.
It would be folly to expect any yuletide carols at the January show. “They are not making it a Christmas holiday,” she said. “It’s about peace and friendship – not Jingle Bells.”
Check out the district’s report card including personal profiles required by the federal No Child Left Behind Act. Since administrators have that much information about the students, surely they know that the school’s 3rd – 5th graders would prefer to have a Christmas program.
For shame, Ms. Hodges.