An group of parents in Missoula, Mont., say they may seek legal counsel to fight an elementary school's song selection for its annual holiday performance, the Missoulan reports.
In an anonymous letter to the Missoula County Public Schools superintendent, Chief Charlo Elementary parents argue that the program is too religious, unconstitutional, unfair and perpetuates bullying. From the Missoulian:
“With many of the children in our neighborhood up here being Jewish and Buddhist, as well as a few Muslim and atheist students, we were assured that this year it would be a secular program.
One of the largest complaints last year were the young children singing about ‘their lord.’ This was concerning to many families and it was clear that several of the students were uncomfortable.
We have no problem with it being called a Christmas concert, it’s just the fact the material should be secular. Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus, Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. These are things that offend no one, but when the children are singing about their lord and savior, Jesus Christ ... public school is not the place.
MCPS Superintendent Alex Apostle told the Missoulian that officials are open to having a conversation with parents about the issue, and added the district is "very cognizant" of separation of church and state.
The Chief Charlo parents' support for the song "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer" is a departure from arguments that the song promotes peer bullying. Special education professor George Giuliani claimed last year, "Comet is saying to children, don't ever play with this reindeer again."
A New Jersey school district went so far as to entirely ban Christmas carols like "Silent Night" in 2010 to "promote an inclusive environment for all students."