NYC School System Blames Principal For Ban On Santa, Thanksgiving, Pledge Of Allegiance

Font Size:

Officials with the New York City Department of Education are blaming a principal’s incompetence for a ban on Thanksgiving, Christmas and the Pledge of Allegiance at a Brooklyn public school.

The taxpayer-funded principal, Eujin Jaela Kim, came under fire last week after the New York Post exposed her as the instigator of a politically-correct policy outlawing Thanksgiving, Santa Claus and the Pledge from classrooms at P.S. 169 in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park neighborhood.

Instead of Thanksgiving, parents said, children at the public school had to celebrate a “harvest festival.” The Pledge was no longer recited, they also said. Christmas was totally verboten.

“We definitely can’t say Christmas, nothing with Christmas on it, nothing with Santa,” PTA president Mimi Ferrer told the Post.

A memo to staffers from school business manager Johanna Bjorken called Santa Claus a “religious figure” who could not be represented on school grounds.

City officials have responded by saying that Kim, 33, has such deficient reading skills that she couldn’t decipher basic school district guidance for holiday displays, NBC New York reports.

In a nutshell, the citywide policy is that holiday symbolism in public schools must be multicultural. Symbols must not endorse any particular religion and must reflect a variety of cultures and religious customs.

Somehow, city officials say, Kim interpreted this policy to mean that Santa Claus is banned.

The Santa ban has now been rescinded.

In addition, P.S. 169 will pipe the Pledge of Allegiance into classrooms every single morning for recital by every student.

“PS169 has sent new guidance to staff allowing the use of Santa Claus as a part of a multicultural display.  In addition, the school has never had a policy against any Thanksgiving celebrations in the school,” an announcement on the school’s website explains. “Finally, PS 169 does recite the Pledge of Allegiance in school classrooms as well as at major school events. It will also be recited over the PA system every morning going forward.”

The announcement appears in English, Spanish and Chinese.

The combined Asian and Hispanic student population at P.S. 169 is 95 percent.

The principal who preceded Kim at P.S. 169, Joseph Iorio, told the Post that New York state Assemblyman Felix Ortiz, a Democrat, had previously visited the school “many times” festooned in full Santa garb. (RELATED: Atheist Democrat Quits Town Council Over Words ‘Christmas Tree,’ Then Retracts Resignation)

Kim was responsible for ending the recitation of the Pledge at the school, Iorio added.

Follow Eric on TwitterLike Eric on Facebook. Send education-related story tips to