I am an elementary teacher and starting November I would like to make an effort to represent the different festivals & celebrations to my Grade 3 class. In December, a Christmas tree appears in the lobby of the school and a Christmas assembly is being planned. The students and staff are predominantly Christian. A parent asks why there is never any representation of other faiths in school activities....what do I do/tell them?

Expert Answers

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I think Christmas is a good time to explore other faiths, especially those who have holidays at that same time. Interestingly enough, I had a couple of Muslim girls tell me that they enjoyed the Christmas party we had this year because they had never gotten s chance to experience Christmas before. It was very secular. Why can't we all taste a bit of one another's holidays? It will help us all understand one another.
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If I were you, I would tell them to ask the administration.  I really think that this is the safest thing for you to do.

Presumably, you were not part of the decision as to which decorations should appear in the lobby.  Therefore, you do not really know what the reasoning was (if any) for choosing those decorations.  That means that you probably shouldn't try to speculate.  In addition, this can be a very touchy issue and can even at times lead to litigation.  I do not think that you would want your words to be used in court, with the administration wondering why you took it upon yourself to explain school policy.

I would definitely refer this one to the principal or, at the very least, ask him/her what you should say.

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