- The Washington Times - Monday, March 31, 2014

Apparently, Jesus is not the official reason for the season in Norwood, Mass., schools. But town residents have launched a fight, demanding that the school district — which previously subbed out “Christmas” on its student calendar for the more generic term of “winter” — reconsider its decision.

Residents have pushed for a referendum for April 7 to vote whether the school will have to reconsider its calendar ban on labeling the week-and-a-half-long holiday as “Christmas,” a prohibition that took effect during the 2011-2012 school year, a local news outlet reported.

The original school decision to switch from “Christmas” to “winter” break was due to beliefs that the former label gave preference to the Christian celebration over other holidays, school committee member John Badger told the Wicked Local news website.

But a couple of residents — Theresa McNulty and Jim Drummey — have now obtained enough signatures to put the issue to referendum, albeit a non-binding one.

“We think there is a movement in our country to demote Christianity and Christmas is the name of a Christian feast day,” Miss McNulty told the website. “Christmas is the name of a national holiday. They changed the name of a national holiday to winter recess and that offended us.”

Meanwhile, the school committee has already voted twice to keep the “winter” tag on the calendar.

“This is not a fight about Christmas,” Superintendent James Hayden told Wicked Local. “It’s about being representative for everyone. I hope we can get beyond being hung up on labels.”

But Miss McNulty and Mr. Drummey said they’re confident they can change minds.

“I would think it would be an embarrassment for the Norwood School Committee to see signs around the Town of Norwood asking them to put Christmas back on the calendar,” she said.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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