An elementary school in Cambridge, Massachusetts told parents this week that despite it being a long-running tradition, Santa Claus would not make an appearance at this year’s winter concert.
Jennifer Ford, principal of the Andrew Peabody School, sent home a letter to parents on Thursday afternoon informing them of the change to the concert. “I am writing to you today to inform you of a change in our concert series this winter,” Ford’s letter said. “Our First through Fourth grade concert as well as our Kindergarten concert will not include a visit from Santa Claus this year.”
The decision to remove Santa from the program reportedly came from a complaint the school received. Many parents have since expressed their disappointment with the decision, with some saying that including Santa Claus in a school event is more about the children’s enjoyment than it is about religion.
“It’s a shame we can’t all celebrate each other’s cultures and Santa is a big part of Christmas-time,” one parent, Rachel Begley, told WBZ. Another, Mohammed Hassan, said that he doesn’t necessarily view Santa as a religious figure, and that the school shouldn’t view him as such. “Kids like that, it’s fun for kids, which is good.”
Robert Thompson, who has two children at the school, said he doesn’t think the school should have pulled Santa from the program, and sees similar situations happening nationwide. “I don’t think it’s right, and I know a lot of people agree with me,” Thompson said. “It seems like that’s what’s going on in America – the squeaky wheel gets oil. It’s a shame.”
While many parents are frustrated with Ford and Andrew Peabody changing the tradition, Himabraya Ashar said that the decision is understandable because some parents may not feel comfortable having Santa at a school function. “We have other ways of exposing our kids to Santa Claus.”