Residents in a Massachusetts town are taking aim at a local school district’s decision to change the name of “Christmas” break to “winter” recess. They will hold a non-binding ballot referendum on April 7 regarding the amendment, though there’s no indication school officials will consider reversing course.
The debate began after the Norwood Public School District in Norwood, Mass., decided to make the change for the 2011-2012 school year.
The decision was based on the feeling that naming the week and a half vacation “Christmas” gave preference to that holiday over others on the calendar, school committee member John Badger told Wicked Local.
Discontented with this decision, locals Theresa McNulty and Jim Drummey recently gathered enough signatures to hold the non-binding referendum.
“We think there is a movement in our country to demote Christianity and Christmas is the name of a Christian feast day,” McNulty told the outlet. “Christmas is the name of a national holiday. They changed the name of a national holiday to winter recess, and that offended us.”
But Superintendent James Hayden said that, despite changing the name of vacation, Christmas and other religious holidays are still on the calendar — and that the decision to broaden the name was about being more inclusive (the online version of district calendar in December 2013 didn’t appear to include Christmas).
“This is not a fight about Christmas. We acknowledge it,” he told Wicked Local. “It’s about being representative for everyone. I hope we can get beyond being hung up on labels.”
The school committee, too, agrees with this view as it has already voted twice to keep the “winter recess” label, so McNulty and Drummey are hoping the referendum might be a new tactic with the power to change their minds.
They believe it’s possible that 70 percent of locals could vote in support of changing back to Christmas and they plan to put signs all over town advocating the reversal.
“I would think it would be an embarrassment for the Norwood School Committee to see signs around the Town of Norwood asking them to put Christmas back on the calendar,” McNulty said of her planned efforts.
If the non-binding resolution doesn’t sway the committee, McNulty said she’ll consider pursuing a binding resolution instead.
(H/T: Wicked Local)
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