First graders at DeBary Elementary School in Volusia County, Fla., have been learning about the holidays from a highly questionable source -- and some local parents are not pleased.
According to Florida station WESH-TV, parent Horace Hymes was outraged when he learned that his 7-year-old daughter’s class had been reading a book that compared Jesus with candy canes and said Christianity's central figure was white.
Hymes said that when he asked his daughter what she learned in school Monday, she answered, "I learned that the white on the candy cane stands for Jesus, because he was white. And the red on the candy cane was for the blood that he shed, and if you flip it upside down, the 'J' stands for Jesus," he added to TV station News 13.
Hymes, who is African American, was upset about the racially charged content in the book and that the public school was bringing religion into the classroom, according to WESH-TV.
“If we are teaching you one thing and the teachers teaching another thing, confusion comes up,” said Hymes, who wants the teachers in question dismissed, according to WESH-TV.
Nancy Wait, a school district spokeswoman, said the book was part of a lesson about “holidays around the world.” She said the book, The Legend of the Candy Cane, was "very religious in content and should not have been used."
"Religion is not part of the public school system, so that was done in error," Wait told News 13 Now.
In New Mexico, a teacher was recently disciplined after telling a student that Santa Claus is white. The teacher, whose name has not been released, was removed from the classroom, but continues working as an educator.