Update Dec. 15, 2015
After the New York Post's coverage of Principal Eujin Jaela Kim's ban on the Pledge of Allegiance, Santa, and Thanksgiving at PS 169 went viral, District 15 Superintendent Anita Skop stormed into the school Monday morning and had two fifth-grade boys lead the recital of the Pledge of Allegiance over the public address system, teachers said. The pledge hadn’t been said over the loudspeakers since the beginning of the school year, but the Department of Education officials said on Monday that it will be recited over the PA system every morning from now on. Santa has also been reinstated.
“It never would have happened if The Post didn’t do the story. That’s the only way we got our voices heard,” PTA president Mimi Ferrer told the New York Post.
The Short of It
A New York City school principal seems to have gone to extreme measures to create a PC learning environment at PS 169, banning everything from the Pledge of Allegiance to Santa.
Eujin Jaela Kim, 33, has made some major changes to one Brooklyn school. Instead of Thanksgiving and Christmas parties, students now celebrate with harvest and winter celebrations. Even the Pledge of Allegiance, which was previously recited in the school, was banned.
"We definitely can't say Christmas, nothing with Christmas on it, nothing with Santa. No angels. We can't even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David," PTA president Mimi Ferrer told the New York Post.
Kim's goal? According to a letter written by assistant principal Jose Chaparro, administrators want to "be sensitive of the diversity of our families. Not all children celebrate the same holidays."
It's worth noting 95 percent of the student body at the school is either Asian or Hispanic.
Incidentally, Kim's directives differ from the New York City Department of Education's, which allows holiday symbols in schools, including Christmas trees, Hanukkah menorahs, the Islamic star-and-crescent, and kinaras (candleholders for Kwanzaa). A picture of an actual deity, like Jesus, would be banned. The DOE allows Santa as a secular figure, but Kim doesn't want him anywhere near her school either.
Kim's ban on anything having to do with religion, even the mere mention of the word "God," is just one aspect of her overhaul of the school. She has also made changes to the curriculum and painted over historic murals in the auditorium to make room for giant flat-screen TVs. According to Ferrer, the expensive technology has never been used.