Every year for a decade, kindergarten students at Sartorette Elementary School in San Jose have been writing letters to Santa then delivering them to the man himself on a school-sponsored outing. Not this year. The Cambrian School District says this month's field trip to meet Santa Claus at a local coffee shop has been canceled after a Jewish mother complained that the school board was honoring Christianity above other religions and her 5-year-old might feel left out. "The field trip was tied to two writing workshops that were supposed to be spent writing to Santa," the woman, identified only as Talia, tells ABC7. "There was also a reindeer party and other Christmas related activities. There was nothing done for the Diwali festival" or for Ramadan, she adds, noting there are also Muslim and Hindu students in the class. "We need to teach about all the holidays," she says, per CBS San Francisco. "We live in a global society."
Some support Talia's move. "I think in the world of intolerance that we live in anything we can do to promote tolerance and understanding is going to be a benefit to everybody," says a fellow parent. But Talia says she's also taken a lot of flak. "I had some parents that called me a communist, that said that I didn't want any holidays in the school," she says. Some even threatened to pull their children out of school on Friday and accused Talia of ruining Christmas and starting a "war on Christmas," per the San Jose Mercury News. "It's really scary how one parent can go and voice her opinion and then everything gets shut down," says a parent. NBC Bay Area reports parents from eight cultures spoke to the class about different customs on Thursday. (Parents are peeved about this school's calligraphy lesson.)