Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Multi-Culti Grinch rampage in Chicagoland

multi culti holiday manipulationCBS reports that a southwest suburban Chicago school district will discard traditional holidays in response to the wishes of a single Muslim parent. Ridgeland School District 122 will celebrate fall festival instead of Halloween and winter festival instead of Christmas. The decision affects four elementary schools in Oak Lawn and one junior high school in Bridgeview.

The district population is 30 percent Arab-American. Some of them practice Islam. Superintendent Tom Smyth says the change in tradition comes after one parent wanted Ramadan decorations put up inside Columbus Manor Elementary. They were taken down.

The article quotes parents without clarifying which are Muslim and which are not, but let's guess, based on last names.

One Muslim parent said, "To take away Halloween and Christmas from little kids is very wrong." Another said, "That does not represent all Muslims, all Arabs at that school. We celebrate the holidays and traditions here, but we do have the right to be Muslims as well." Muslim children are allowed to pray at lunch time during Ramadan. Seems fair to me.

Many non-Muslim parents are upset. One said, "It's not fair to our kids. This is America and that's an American tradition." Another said, "They get to pray in our schools. That is religion in a public school." In my opinion, any prayer at lunchtime is OK unless it involves animal sacrifice. That might confuse cafeteria workers.

The Superintendent's response? "I go back to our policy which says that public schools are to remain neutral in this respect." This isn't neutral. This promotes one viewpoint at the expense of another, long established. Let traditional holidays remain.

The odd thing is that this seems to be a step backward for Ridgeland. The calendar on the district's own website lists the following holidays: Yom Kippur, Eid al-Fitr, Halloween, Veterans' Day, Hanukkah, Eid al-Adha, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Muharram, Martin Luther King Day, Lincoln's Birthday, Valentine's Day, Casimir Pulaski Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter, and Memorial Day. That looks pretty inclusive to me, especially if a little time is spent in class explaining each one. Shame on them for forgetting paczki day.

The district's families have a better grip on the reality of life in multicultural neighborhoods than the superintendent does. Judging from the cash-strapped condition of the district after a failed referendum last April, he should worry less about which holidays to promote and more about winning the confidence of the taxpayers on whom his job depends. Oh, and thanks to Chuck Jones and Warner Brothers for the Grinch- another enduring American tradition.