'Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer' causes stir at school
Posted December 9, 2008
Wilmington, N.C. — "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" caused a stir at a New Hanover County school. A parent complained about the song's religious reference and got it pulled from her child's kindergarten Christmas show at Murrayville Elementary School.
The song was pulled “because it had the word Christmas in it,” said Rick Holliday, assistant school superintendent.
A Jewish mother, who didn't want her name published, objected to what she called "religious overtones" in the song. So the principal agreed to pull it from the program.
School administrators said they were then flooded with complaints from other angry parents.
“I would say it's not a very religious song. It's about Santa Claus,” parent Anne Vanslyke said.
School board members, administrators and attorneys listened closely to the song's lyrics and decided the song was secular.
“Rudolph is a secular song. It was about a flying reindeer, not a religious symbol,” Holliday said.
Many parents shouted out with glee when they heard the song was back in the program.
“I think it's great that they let the kids sing because all the kids love that song,” Vanslyke said.
Any student who objects to singing a Christmas song or attending a program can decline participation and will not be penalized, according to school administrators.
“We do try to be cognizant of everyone's feelings,” Holliday said.
School administrations also decided that for future concerts, religious songs can be included, as long as other faiths are represented as well.