With its efforts to engage in the anti-bullying phenomenon kicking up into high gear, the Jordan-Jackson Elementary School in Mansfield, Massachusetts, has stirred up some intense controversy. Officials have decided to cancel the school's annual holiday concert and replace it with an anti-bullying event. As a result, some parents and community members are less-than-pleased, charging that the decision was made as a result of complaints over the religious nature of past holiday shows.
Despite these allegations, Mansfield Public Schools Superintendent Brenda Hodges told Fox News' Todd Starnes that Christmas is not being shunned by the district. She also alleged that past complaints about the holiday shows' religious tenets have nothing to do with the program's cancellation.
"We certainly haven’t done away with Christmas in Mansfield," she said in an interview with Starnes. "We just had a little change at that particular school because they had a big initiative on anti-bullying."
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Rather than enjoying a Christmas concert, students will be going through a new anti-bullying program in January -- one that will take place during the week of Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday.
"They wanted to make the theme around peace, friendship, kindness, be good to your fellow students, and accept differences and be supportive," Hodges said, noting that those hoping for some holiday cheer in the New Year won't be in luck. "They are not making it a Christmas holiday. It’s about peace and friendship – not Jingle Bells."
The obvious question some may be asking is why the district cannot hold both a holiday show and an assembly in January addressing issues pertaining to bullying. While budgets may be an issue, it's certainly a curiosity worth exploring.
The reaction, of course, has been swift. Parents and others outraged over the break in tradition have posted their thoughts on the community's local Patch web site. While one reader lamented the seemingly-constant need for political correctness, another dismissed the district's leaders as "spineless cowards."
"What is this world coming to when children cannot put on a Christmas play?," one person asked.
Hodges told Starnes that the change was made months ago and that parents were notified about it in September. While there were purportedly no initial complaints, the superintendent said she is disappointed by some of the negative responses.
"I think our parents could take some lessons from our children sometimes – in being kind and respectful," she proclaimed.
While the elementary school has cancelled the holiday show, Hodges said that community members are able to see programs at both the middle and high schools.
(H/T: Fox News' Todd Starnes)