In the last 24 hours, news stories indicated the Fort Worth ISD was “banning” Santa from our schools. That was never our intention nor did we ever mean to say children and adults couldn’t exchange holiday greetings and cards. But because we referenced the “instructional day” in an internal memo, that was what was inferred.
As I said in a statement this morning, Santa Claus is welcome to visit our schools. He can be in the lobby. He can be in the cafeteria. He can be in the auditorium. He can be in the school, outside the school, around the school. But he cannot visit the classroom while the teacher is teaching.
Students may also exchange cards and gifts, but – again – not while instruction is going on. It can happen at the beginning of a class, at the end of a class, in the hallways or at lunchtime. But it shouldn’t happen while teachers are trying to teach.
We sent out information first thing today to principals to clarify this issue. If you have any questions, I suggest you talk with your campus administrator. The principal is the final arbiter of what is appropriate at our schools in these kinds of matters.
Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa, this is the time of year we have to reflect on our lives and express gratitude for those who make it better. You make the lives of thousands of children better every day just by doing what you do. In my message yesterday, I referenced that briefly. But I think it bears repeating.
Santa has long been a universal symbol of selfless giving and making children’s lives more joyful. To paraphrase a famous editorial of more than a hundred years ago, “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” – and he resides in the hearts of Fort Worth ISD educators.
Have a wonderful weekend.
Walter D. Dansby