Update: Bangor teacher given reprieve. Bangor High School has reversed its decision on having a Christmas tree in the building.
Last week, school officials said math teacher Catherine Gordon had to remove her Hello Kitty Tree from her classroom.
This afternoon, Principal Paul Butler announced the school has reversed its decision, saying in part,
“I did review various reasoned perspectives on the topic that have satisfied an important professional responsibility: to ensure that the sharing of any one tradition ultimately highlights the universal nature of holiday celebration. The Christmas tree that has been the focus of this discussion does so, and is therefore appropriate for the school setting.”
Original Bangor Teacher story: A Maine high school teacher was told in an email from the building principal to remove her pink Hello Kitty Christmas tree from her classroom—and she’s not happy about it, according to her recent Facebook post.
“I feel that this is definitely a turning point in our society—when everything offends everyone all the time—it just sucks the joy out of everything,” Catherine Gordon, a math teacher at Bangor High School, posted Friday night.
Gordon said she has decorated her classroom for the holidays for 30 years, with a tree as part of those decorations almost every year, according to WLBZ-TV.
“It just seems that in our quest to be tolerant of everything, we’ve become intolerant to everything,” an emotional Gordon said in a Bangor Daily News video.
Maine Congressman Bruce Poliquin, who represents Bangor, also weighed in on the removal of the Christmas tree on Facebook, saying that the display “should not be condemned, especially in our classrooms.”
In an official statement, Poliquin urged school officials to reconsider their decision about the Bangor teacher.
“Our local school teachers and parents should have the ultimate say in how to run their classrooms so long as it does not pose any danger to students or the community,” he said. “I find the School Department’s decision baseless and completely counter to all that our Nation stands for.”
Bangor School Superintendent Betsy Webb told WLBZ-TV in a statement that the school department aims to maintain consistency with its approach to educate students to become global citizens.
“In alignment with national and state standards, the Bangor School Department educates students about culture, traditions, and holidays through curriculum ties,” Webb said.
Watch Bangor teacher, Gordon’s interview with Bangor Daily News below:
By Meagan McGinnes
Meagan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org