Do you know what is happening at Breitung Township Schools?
School administration has ordered that some songs must be pulled from the second grade concert after complaints by a couple of parents.
After a complaint by one parent about a particular song based on its focus of holiday consumerism, a song title "Over the Freeway and to the Mall" was pulled by Mrs. Ritsema, the elementary music teacher at Woodland Elementary.
Mrs. Ritsema decided to keep the other two songs in question as she felt there was nothing offensive or morally objectionable about them.
The first song is entitled "He'll be Coming from the North Pole." It's a cute little song about the kids being excited for Santa to get there. But it mentions having a party with Santa, and we all know what kind of party second graders throw.
The other song is a new take on "O, Christmas Tree" complaining about the tree being full of sap and being a fire hazard. It ends with the kids asserting that next year, they will be "going artificial."
The new lyrics to both of these songs were written by John Jacobson, a celebrated music educator and workshop presenter. (This is the same man that went viral for his Double Dream Hands dance.)
This would have been the third year these songs were performed at the second grade concert and I am personally unaware of any previous parental complaints. In fact many of the administrators involved have listened to their own children sing these songs, but never had anything negative to say.
The ironic part is that Mrs. Ritsema is not even contractually obligated to hold concerts in the evening. She chooses to do so to allow parents the opportunity to attend their children's performances.
The real problem in this situation is not a few objections to song selections, it is parents trying to control curriculum. Once parents start dictating what songs can be sung at a holiday program, where does it end?
Will we next start banning books from English classes? Refuse to teach students about the Civil War in History? Decide evolution is too controversial to have a place in a biology classroom?
This isn't about a couple of parents pressuring administration into forcing one of their teachers to remove two songs from a holiday concert. It's about the future of our education system.
I refuse to sit idly by while a minority bullies their irrational viewpoints into a public school.
KHS Class of 2010