KINGS PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The song "Silent Night" is at the heart of a concert controversy on Long Island.
Officials at Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School removed several religious references, including "holy infant" and "Christ the savior," from the popular Christmas carol before a concert featuring fifth-graders last week, WCBS 880's Mike Xirinachs reported.
The intent was to avoid offending non-Christians, but the change left others upset.
L.I. School Officials Apologize For Removing Religious References From 'Silent Night'
"Any reference to what the song was about -- the birth of Christ, 'round young virgin mother and child' -- all of those things were omitted from the version that the children sang beautifully," said Jackie McDonald, a mother who walked out of the performance.
"To choose to sing 'Silent Night' and eviscerate the meaning of the song was not appropriate," McDonald told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff.
Some parents said the school should have chosen a different song.
"It's offensive," one father told Gusoff. "If you're going to remove words to not offend other religions, what about the religion that that song belongs to, which is Christianity?"
The chorus performance also included a song in Hebrew, but it wasn't a religious song.
Kings Park's school superintendent and the principal of the Ralph J. Osgood Intermediate School have since apologized.
They admit it was a mistake to edit the song and promised it won't happen again, Xirinachs reported.
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