A Brooklyn elementary school principal was under fire this week for supposedly banning Santa, Thanksgiving, and the Pledge of Allegiance from his public school. This all started when the New York Post reported that Principal Eujin Jaela Kim of PS169 in Sunset Park, Brooklyn was stopping all religious celebrations in school.
The thing is, that’s not actually what the principal said. The information was initially gathered from the PTA president, not from the principal herself. Prior to Kim’s leadership, the Pledge of Allegiance was said over the loudspeaker; under her direction, teachers are free to choose how they’d like to handle it, which means students aren’t required to recite it. This seemed to have gotten warped in the initial reporting. As of now, however, the Pledge will again be broadcasted over the loudspeaker.
The changes were announced last month–Vice Principal, Jose Chapparro, asked teachers to “be sensitive of the diversity of our families” and reminded them that “not all children celebrate the same holidays.” This announcement is actually in line with the city’s Department of Education guidelines, which state that school displays that “depict images of deities, religious figures or religious texts” are prohibited.
Fox News reported that the principal had apparently banned Santa (a crime!!!), and wouldn’t even allow students to say the pledge. Of course, this caused many outraged “patriots” to start a Facebook page and a Change.org petition calling for Kim’s termination. The comments on their Facebook page were pretty brutal:
“Go back to your country you POS! You’re in our country now, AMERICA, and you don’t change our traditions. To all parents of children in that school — grow a set and have this douche-bag terminated. SHAME on you if you don’t! STAND-UP 4 AMERICA…”
“I would consider her a terrorist of the United States she should immediately be fired and never allowed to work in any school district for the rest of her life and deported to whatever country she wants to go to.”
The ironic thing here is the simple fact that the outrage is really over a lot of nothing–considering there wasn’t actually a ban on anything. It seems Kim merely wanted to make all students of various backgrounds and faiths feel comfortable, safe, and accepted–and not to play favorites for any religious background. Doesn’t sound so terrible to me. If anything, it sounds pretty darn American.
Teaching students to accept people from all races, religions, and beliefs is not only American, but it’s compassionate. Freedom is what America was founded on, after all.