Christmas Christmas Traditions Murrayville Elementary School Rudolph Controversy

Rudolph and Santa Cause Controversy in Murrayville

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was almost grounded at Murrayville, North Carolina Elementary School this week after a parent complained about the Christmas song’s inclusion in her daughter’s upcoming kindergarten concert.

The objecting parent was upset about the words “Christmas” and “Santa” in the song, feeling that they carried religious overtones.

That prompted the song to be pulled from the upcoming holiday concert, which in turn upset more parents.

The county school administrators and lawyers determined the song was just, well, a secular song about a make-believe reindeer so it has been re-included in the upcoming play that will be performed next Tuesday.

“They’ve determined that it signifies just a day in time, Dec. 25, not the promotion of a religious symbol,” said Ed Higgins, chairman of the county Board of Education. “So Rudolph is back in.”School officials also found the use of “Santa” to be okay because he’s considered a nonreligious figure.

The kindergarten chorus’ holiday concert for the school’s PTA will now include Rudolph along with the songs “Winter Wonderland,” a snowman rap and “Jingle Bells.”

“They have clearly decided that any other religion or custom is not important,” the objecting parent said after learning about the reversal on “Rudolph.” She asked that her name not be published, to shield her daughter’s identity.

The mother, who is Jewish, said she was trying to have a Hanukkah song added to the musical lineup but had not received a return phone call about it from school officials by mid-afternoon Friday.

Murrayville Principal Julie Duclos said the school decided to pull the song after the parent complained

“to make sure that we were actually paying attention to everybody’s interest, that we were not choosing somebody’s interest over another.”

“If we had enough time in the PTA program to sing a song for every single interest and value system, then we could do it,” she said. “But when you can’t do that, you go to universal values that are agreed on by every faith, every denomination. We wouldn’t want to leave anybody out.”

It’s sad that it takes just one person to almost change a tradition that has been happening in schools for decades…


About the author

Lisa Arneill

Founder of Growing Your Baby and World Traveled Family. Canadian mom of 2 boys, photo addict, lover of bulldogs, and museumgoer. Always looking for our next vacation spot!


  • Religious wars only take away from the children. Everybody has an opinion, and the principal was right to ask the question of how to make it work for everybody. Because, there is no answer for that one and no way to get it right.

  • I must admit that I am a little distressed by this article. I lived in Wilmingon, NC for a number of years, and the one thing that impressed me about the city was a total lack of drama. When I lived in the city, it was a tolerant place, with hardworking individuals who seemed to get along.
    This situation seems to indicate a bunch of individuals who want to handle small problems at the highest levels. I bet that the parents could have handled their extremely small differences by talking amongst themselves–or at the most discussing it with the school personnel.
    I believe that this sorry episode sets a poor example fo the children, and does not express Wilmington in the best light. I hope all individuals decide to do the best thing; stay away from the newspapers and television people, quietly settle this issue, and begin getting on with their lives.

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