ES-M welcomes Santa Claus, other cultural figures

DeSiato compared the idea of Santa's celebratory visits, to children lighting a candle on a menorah the full eight days of Hanukkah. Both are forms of holiday observance.

"We're mindful of the activities and the lessons that go on that are important to development of all of our students," she said. "We are also mindful that we cannot have any activities that supersede or compromise a parent's right to make choices about activities that celebrate a tradition versus teaching about a tradition."

Parents can still choose to bring their children to see Santa at scheduled after-school PTO-sponsored events.

"The one message is inclusion and sensitivity for all of our families. Sensitivities for their faiths, for their traditions and their cultures," DeSiato said. "And when appropriate, we're allowing parents to both be involved and to make a choice when it comes to celebrating a tradition."

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