Writer defends school system on holiday music
I would like to defend the Liberty Union school system and their decision to change the songs of the holiday program. School is a place where children learn, among other things, that we are all different and how we should be respectful of those differences. I feel the school is not dismissing the importance of Christmas, but rather showing respect for the other holidays that take place during December such as Hanukkah, Las Posadas, and Kwanzaa. In your letter you said that calling it a Holiday Concert' doesn't fix anything because we all know the holiday is still Christmas. While I will agree that the majority of Baltimore does celebrate Christmas, I will not agree that the word holiday automatically means Christmas.
Separation of church and state allows the public schools to be a place of education that does not teach one religion, but rather the acceptance of cultures different from our own. I would like to point out two academic content standards from the social studies curriculum for grades K-2 from the Ohio Department of Education:
1. Identify practices and products of diverse cultures.
2. Identify ways that different cultures within the United States and the world have shaped our national heritage.
Your religion is obviously a very important part of your life, which is fine. However, you need to realize that this is your belief and does not need to be the same for everyone. You feel that you are being treated unfairly and are choosing to take your daughter out of the program. Now you may have a glimpse into what other parents have felt for a long time when they have taken their children out of the classroom for their religious beliefs. This is why it is only fair to ALL children to not practice religion in a public school. If it is that important to you that religion be a part of your child's education then I would recommend that you transfer her to a private school that practices your religion.
You said, "Are we going to stand blindly by while this happens in our little town?" I have lived in Baltimore for 31 years and love it. I have made the decision to raise my children in this community and attend the school from which my husband and I both graduated. However, I don't want our little town to be known for being narrow minded and intolerant. We need our children to see the world for what it is - diverse! You also mention how the holiday of Christmas is about Christian morals and values, such as, generosity, love, and forgiveness. However, it seems that you only mean this if people see the world through your eyes. I would hope that this time of year would be one of giving, thankfulness, and love regardless of religious beliefs. Happy Holidays, Natalie Lewellen Baltimore