- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 19, 2013

A school board in Long Island, N.Y., has apologized after a fifth-grade chorus left out lyrics that mentioned Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary from “Silent Night.”

The children at Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School did not sing the lines “round yon virgin, mother and child,” or “Christ the Savior is born,” a local station reported.

Superintendent Susan Agruso and R.J.O Intermediate School principal Rudy Massimo said the chorus director had pulled out lines of the song with the most religious meaning, as “the chorale director thought it was an appropriate way to represent the song without offending those of other faiths,” Kings Park Patch reported.

“Silent Night at its core is a religious song,” Kevin McDonald, a parent, argued at the Dec. 17 board meeting. “It’s a sacred, religious hymn that tells the story of Jesus’s birth.”

Both Agruso and Massimo stressed that no disrespect was intended.

“I apologize for that, it’s the last thing anybody intended. Going forward, it’s not going to happen again. They will be more cautious and cognizant of this particular issue when they select a song,” Agruso said, Kings Park Patch reported. “They meant nothing wrong. Clearly we could have done something different, and in the future we will.”

The Kings Park Central School District Board of Education also said in a statement that it “sincerely apologizes to our community members who were offended.”

“This action was not approved by the Board of Education or district administration, nor is it their role to approve the songs chosen for our concerts,” the statement said, according to the local station.

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