Hillsboro, Ore. (KATU/CNN) — Santa Claus is quintessential to the holiday season in America. You see him in Hillsboro stores like Jeff Nelson’s antique shop. He said, “It’s just part of the traditional holiday spirit I guess, we’ve always embraced it.”
But Santa is not welcome in Hillsboro Schools. The district is telling staff who wish to decorate offices or doors to refrain from religious-themed decorations or images like Santa.
“It really went out as a notification to staff, not even parents, just to make sure they are being sensitive and thoughtful as they enter the holiday season,” said Beth Graser, communications director for the Hillsboro School District. She added this is to make sure all cultures and backgrounds are comfortable at school. Some parents say that’s bogus.
One mother said, “I’m from that generation where we believe in Santa, and my kids believe in Santa, and they should be able to celebrate it.”
Jason Ramirez understands why the district does this but Santa never bothered him. “If you’re going to put a giant cross on the window that’s one thing, but I think Santa Claus is more folklore and American history than a religious symbol at this point.”
Nelson, with decorations in his store, said a Santa ban might be going a little too far. On the other hand, Graser said they understand the frustrations. “It’s not meant to be that at all. Again, it’s just really a reminder to get people to be sensitive”
For parents like Ramirez, he’s used to this idea in schools, Santa or no Santa–it makes no difference to him. “I think the kids still get the same effect out of it.”
Several other school districts in the Portland area have similar policies.