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Holiday icon banned at NYC elementary school: report

NEW YORK --A new broom may sweep clean, but a new principal at a Brooklyn, New York elementary school reportedly is trying to rid her school of many things some people may deem politically incorrect.

The New York Post reports that, at Public School 169, Santa is banned, the Pledge of Allegiance is no longer recited, Thanksgiving is now referred to as a "harvest festival" and "winter celebrations" are taking the place of Christmas parties.

Eujin Jaela Kim has given the Sunset Park, Brooklyn, a politically correct makeover, the Post says, adding that it's got many teachers and parents upset.

"We definitely can't say Christmas, nothing with Christmas on it, nothing with Santa," the Post quotes PTA President Mimi Ferrer as saying school administrators told her. "No angels. We can't even have a star because it can represent a religious system, like the Star of David."

Kim, 33, didn't return a call or email from the Post seeking comment.

According to the Post, Assistant Principal Jose Chaparro sent a memo last month urging staffers to be "sensitive of the diversity of our families. Not all children celebrate the same holidays."

Ninety-five percent of the 1,600 kids at PS 169 are Asian or Hispanic, the Post says.

The newspaper explains that, "In a recent directive to all schools, the city Department of Education said it permits holiday symbols including Christmas trees, kinaras (candleholders for Kwanzaa), dreidels, Hanukkah menorahs and the Islamic star-and-crescent. Displays that "depict images of deities, religious figures or religious texts" are prohibited."

And, says the Post, PS 169 Business Manager Johanna Bjorken added in a memo to staffers this month, "In case you are wondering about grey areas: Santa Claus is considered an 'other religious figure."

But a DOE spokesman told the newspaper Santa is allowed -- as a secular figure.

Santa was a part of the holidays at PS 169 for years, the Post reports. But no more.

When Kim arrived, school-wide recitations of the pledge left, the Post reports.

A DOE spokesman told the newspaper classrooms can recite the pledge "at the teacher's discretion." But PS 169 teachers said Kim never told them they could, according to the Post.

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