Saturday, September 29, 2007

So There's Not Always Room for Jell-O?

We all learned that, no matter how much you eat, there’s still always room for Jell-O.

Maybe not any more. The Chicago Sun-Times reports what's going on in Illinois:

First Jell-O, now Santa

OAK LAWN School district considers banning traditions seen as offensive to Muslims
September 28, 2007

BY ANGELA CAPUTO Daily Southtown

So long, Halloween parade. Farewell, Santa's gift shop.

The holiday traditions are facing elimination in some Oak Lawn schools this year after complaints that the activities are offensive, particularly to Muslim students.

Final decisions on which of the festivities will be axed will fall to the principals at each of Ridgeland School District 122's five schools, Supt. Tom Smyth said.

Parents expect that the announcement is going to add to the tension that has been building since officials agreed earlier this month to change the lunch menu to exclude items containing pork to accommodate Muslim students. News that Jell-O was struck from the menu caused such a stir that officials have agreed to bring it back. Gelatin is often made with tissue or bones of pigs or other animals.

That controversy now appears to have been been dwarfed by the holiday debate, which became so acrimonious Wednesday that police were called to Columbus Manor School to intervene in a shouting match among parents.

"It's difficult when you change the school's culture," said Columbus Manor Principal Sandy Robertson.

Elizabeth Zahdan, a mother of three District 122 students, says she took her concerns to the school board this month, not because she wanted to do away with the traditions, but rather to make them more inclusive. "I only wanted them modified to represent everyone," she said.

Nixing them isn't the response she was looking for. "Now the kids are not being educated about other people," she said.

There's just not time in the six-hour school day to celebrate every holiday, said Smyth, who sent the message to principals that they need to "tone down" the activities that he sees as eating too much into instructional time. "We have to think about our purpose," Smyth said. "Are we about teaching reading, writing and math or for parties or fund-raising during the day?"

Robertson is hoping to strike compromises that will keep traditions alive and be culturally acceptable to all students -- nearly half of whom are of Arab descent at Columbus Manor, she says. Fewer than a third of students districtwide are of Arab descent, according to Smyth.

Following the example of Lieb Elementary School, Columbus Manor School will exchange the annual Halloween parade for a fall festival next month. The holiday gift bazaars at both schools also will remain, but they'll likely be moved to the PTA-sponsored after-school winter festival. And Santa's annual visit probably will be on a Saturday.

And you thought atheist parents were causing trouble. At least they left the Jell-O alone.

As usual, the "tension" in this situation started building as soon as school officials, (who often have their backbones and rigid spinal tissue removed to make gelatin) took the path of least resistance and told Muslim parents, "Sure, Jell-O offends you, so we'll fix it so that no one can have Jell-O."

And why not? If a minority population is having trouble adjusting to your culture, just change the culture!

But it turned out "it's difficult when you change the school's culture," according to Columbus Manor Principal Sandy Robertson.

It's a funny thing that in this story the banning of Jell-O is more offensive to me than trying to keep Santa out. For one thing, there've been so many anti-Santa movements over the years that I find it a crashing bore. At least Santa is legitimately a big target, no pun intended. Face it, all those efforts to claim Santa Claus is not a religious figure just don't cut it. The man's a saint, for God's sake. And he's giving gifts on Jesus' birthday and all that.

I'm not saying I think he should be banned. I'm just saying those who don't happen to celebrate Jesus' birthday, or have a non-Santa-recognizing religion may resent seeing him around just a bit.

But what gives anyone the right to say that, because I find gelatin foods blasphemous, that kid over there can't eat Jell-O, either?

Elizabeth Zahdan, the mother who seems to have started all this, says she only wanted to make things more inclusive, but then admits she wanted traditions "modified to represent everyone."

Apparently, in schools in Muslim cultures, everyone can't get Jell-O, so let's make Oak Lawn schools "inclusive" by fixing it so every kid, even non-Muslims, can't get Jell-O.

Represents everyone, see?

Now everyone can enjoy a no-Halloween "fall festival," a harvest-themed celebration that will mean a whole lot to "everyone" in this highly-urban Oak Lawn Chicago suburb.

At least the parents raised hell and got their Jell-O back, even if Santa has to come in through the service entrance and Jack-O-Lanterns will not be allowed.


Anonymous said...

I had never heard of a Dearborn underground, but it sounds like Dearborn needs one! I am appalled at the gall of these Muslims, but even more outraged by our lack of backbone to stand up to them. I wonder how much of this is happening in my part of the country that I am simply unaware of.

MT09man said...

Allah is satan and muslims are his minions. This islamic disease is a cancer that is metastasizing worldwide. It starts with a gentle appeal to just be sympathetic and multi-culti minded. It ends with islamic intolerance and sharia once sufficient muslim population numbers are reached. ISIL...coming to a neighborhood near you. Be prepared...there's going to be a lot of bloodshed.