Earlier this month, a county election worker dressed as Santa Claus visited the school so that kids could have their pictures taken with him. Those who filled out a permission slip and paid a dollar could get a photo, with the money going to the PTO.
However, a parent complained, so the school told Santa to take his sleigh and hit the skies.
The action launched a debate on the internet and was the subject of a story on CBS news. Some parents said Santa belonged in the mall but not in a public school, while others said it was a tradition and still others said all religions should have been represented.
In the end, the school invited Santa back and gave children the option of having their photo taken with symbols of other holidays, like a menorah.
But the discussion was not over.
In an article published in Friday's Jewish Week, the author said the tenor of the discussion had become angry and may be part of a larger trend in Hoboken.
The article noted:
"A Calabro parent who mistakenly believed the school had cancelled Santa altogether, rather than postponed the event, wrote a message on the town’s e-mail group for mothers asking 'certain people' to remember that Calabro is not a Jewish school. She was upset that she had to disappoint her daughter, who had been looking forward to the occasion.
In the past decade, Hoboken has changed as a wave of redevelopment launched in the late 1980s and 1990s...The resulting economic and ethnic diversification has generated strain between the so-called 'newcomers' and 'born-and-raised' that some see playing out here over the role of Santa in the public schools.
'This particular incident has become a kind of flashpoint that has brought to light tensions that were probably already there, but that I had not seen before to this extent,' said Laura Siegel, a Jewish mother and public school teacher who also used to moderate the Hoboken Moms listserv.
The Jewish Week contacted the disappointed mother directly, as well as other posters who expressed similar sentiments, and posted a message on the listserv asking for comment, but received no replies."
A lawyer for a Jewish group is quoted in the article as saying, “It invites controversy that the schools don’t need, and it’s not as if there aren’t lots of other places where a kid can find Santa.”
Indeed the debate over holiday symbols in schools has been flaring for more than two decades before catching up to Hoboken.
The story can be found here. Meanwhile, the debate had been put to rest on the Hoboken Moms group -- but it temporarily resurfaced on Friday afternoon when, according to a post forwarded to the newspaper, a mom wrote, "This was a complaint made without truly thinking of how all of the children will be affected. I find it to be a thoughtless and an insensitive way to approach the subject. If you don't want to have your child exposed to Santa, that's your call, but that means you will also have to complain to every mall, Rockerfellar Center, Macy's, the TBS channel, etc."
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