ISSN 2330-717X

Santa’s Back At Hillsboro – OpEd


In an article titled, “Diversity = Intolerance,” I mentioned that Oregon’s Hillsboro School District issued a policy requesting that employees “refrain” from decorating their office doors with Santa. That’s because some feel “uncomfortable” seeing Christmas symbols.

We bombarded the local media in the Portland area where Hillsboro is located with our statement, and subsequently heard from the school district’s communications director, Beth Graser; she emailed me a letter explaining what happened and how this matter has been resolved.

There is good news: Santa is back. More good news: there are no reports of vomiting or levitation among the “uncomfortable” crowd.

“I apologize for the turmoil this has caused,” Graser wrote. Apology accepted. But her explanation of what happened suggests that some in the district still don’t get it.

Graser says the office door policy was meant to apply only to the district staff. However, a portion of the policy was sent to principals, and one of them shared it with others. It eventually wound up in the hands of an employee who is not anti-Santa, and that someone contacted the media. Once we learned of it, we jumped on it.

In her letter to me, Graser strains to say that all of this hullaballoo could have been avoided had the unhappy employee simply discussed the policy with school officials, instead of going to the media. But that dodges the real problem. There would have been no media issue in the first place had school district officials not sought to censor Christmas.

No matter, we are happy to say that the right decision has been made. Here is what Graser wrote: “We respect and value all religions, cultures, customs and traditions, including Santa and Christmas. We have not banned Santa. Many of our schools have Santa and/or Christmas-related decorations displayed and many are having visits from Santa over the next two weeks.”

A happy ending to a needless controversy.

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William Donohue

William Donohue is the current president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the United States, and has held that position since 1993.

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