A huge majority of voters in a small town in the nether suburbs of Boston has approved a ballot measure exhorting public school officials to start calling Christmas vacation “Christmas Recess” instead of “Winter Recess” — the vacant, wishy-washy current name.
The non-binding measure was approved by a whopping 76 percent of the voters in the Massachusetts town of Norwood, reports Mass Live.
The school district began referring to that long block of time off in the winter that always includes Christmas and New Year’s Day as “Winter Recess” two years ago.
Two Norwood residents, Theresa McNulty and Jim Drummey, pressed to the get the measure on the ballot this spring.
“We think there is a movement in our country to demote Christianity and Christmas is the name of a Christian feast day,” McNulty said just before the vote, according to Mass Live.
“We’re not excluding anybody,” Drummey told WFXT before the vote. “Of course you want diversity. Of course you want to respect all religions. But the only one that’s getting disrespected right now is Christianity.”
A similar renaming initiative failed to pass muster among Norwood voters in May 2013.
The Norwood school district superintendent, James Hayden, tried to sidestep the controversy, insisting that he doesn’t want to get caught up in labels, man.
“This is not a fight about Christmas,” Hayden told Wicked Local. “We acknowledge it. It’s about being representative for everyone. I hope we can get beyond being hung up on labels.”
It’s not clear what the school district will do in response to the expressed will of the people.
The naming and celebrating of Christmas at or near public schools has become a perennially controversial issue around the country.
In Texas, for example, a state law has been passed that allows public schools to celebrate Christmas and other winter holidays plainly and explicitly without fear of lawsuits. (RELATED: Ho! Ho! Ho! ‘Merry Christmas Bill’ expected to become law in Texas soon)
The “Merry Christmas Bill” sailed easily through both the Texas House and Senate. It took effect in fall 2013. The text of the bill specifically permits school districts to “educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations” and declare such things such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah.”
Naturally, of course, when Christmas came around this academic year, a group of parents and a state legislator claimed that the organizer of the winter party at Nichols Elementary School in the affluent Dallas suburb of Frisco outlawed all mentions of Christmas at the event. (RELATED: Texas grade school bans Christmas despite new state law EXPLICITLY allowing Christmas)
The unidentified, fun-hating party organizer allegedly banned Christmas trees, the colors red and green, the mention of any other winter holidays and anything that might stain the carpet.