Interfaith Celebration Scheduled at Calabro After Santa Was Asked to Leave Last Week
Students will be able to take a picture with Santa, a menorah or a kinara on Tuesday at the Calabro school.
After Santa Claus was asked to leave last week right before an event in which Calabro School students could take their pictures with Father Christmas, a new event representing three religions has been scheduled for Tuesday morning.
Students will be able to choose to take a picture with either Santa Claus, a menorah (for the Jewish students) or a kinara (for those celebrating kwanzaa).
Last Wednesday, Santa showed up at the Calabro school for the annual longstanding event, during which students can take their picture with him for $1. One parent, with a Jewish background, objected that other religions weren't represented in the event and Santa—already in his suit and ready for the event—was asked to leave, after the Calabro principal contacted the superintendent.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Mark Toback said in a phone interview on Monday afternoon that he consulted the school board's lawyer, who advised him to reschedule the event, which is organized by the district's Parent Teacher Organization. Toback said that the event, now scheduled for Tuesday morning, will feature Hanukkah and Kwanzaa traditions as well as the Christmas tradition.
In the future, Toback said, the event will likely be held after school to avoid such conflicts.
"I don't want to interfere with school tradition," Toback said.
A PTO meeting was held last week after the incident during which the new event, with all religions present, was scheduled.