A Long Island, N.Y., school district has apologized after it came under fire following a fifth grade choir’s removal of some key lyrics from the traditional Christmas song “Silent Night.”
Many of the religious lines that point to the very heart of the Christmas season were simply axed from the students’ Dec. 12 performance at Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School.
“Christ the Savior is born,” “Holy infant so, tender and mild,” “round yon virgin, mother and child” and “Jesus, Lord at thy birth” were strategically removed from the student rendition; the lyrics were simply deleted and nothing replaced them.
The Kings Park Central School District has since apologized to members of the community who were outraged over the changes, WNBC-TV reported.
“The Board of Education sincerely apologizes to our community members who were offended by the change of lyrics to the song Silent Night and we share in your sentiment,” read a statement published on the district’s website. “This action was not approved by the Board of Education or district administration, nor is it their role to approve the songs chosen for our concerts.”
While officials said no disrespect was meant on the part of school staffers, they pledged to never allow such omissions to happen again, offering their “sincerest apologies.”
Watch the performance below and hear the omissions for yourself:
Keven McDonald, a parent whose son was in the orchestra during the sanitized version of “Silent Night,” spoke out against the changes at a recent school board meeting, Newsday reported.
“Silent Night’ at its core is a religious song. It’s a sacred Christian hymn that tells the story about the birth of Jesus,” he said. “What was performed was inappropriate and disrespectful to the Christian faith.”
In the end, it seems even the school district agreed with his sentiment.