LONDON – Schools are increasingly replacing the King of Kings with the King of Rock and Roll.
The Telegraph reports:
Christianity is being banished from school nativity plays as the annual performance of the Christmas story is replaced with bland “winter celebrations”, research among parents suggests.
Even in schools which retain religious themes, most now opt for a modernised version of the nativity story, often featuring elaborate twists and children dressed as unlikely additions such as punk fairies, aliens, Elvis, lobsters, spacemen and even recycling bins.
Examples cited in the survey conducted by Netmums, the parenting website, even included a retelling of the story modelled on The Apprentice. Others told of children dressed as ingredients in a Christmas lunch including carrots, sprouts and – confusingly – pumpkins.
Only one-third of schools offer an accurate telling of the biblical story of Jesus’ arrival complete Mary and Joseph, inn-keepers, shepherds and magi.
About 12 percent of schools hold a Christmastime event with no mention of the holiday, with some even incorporating other religious holidays, like the Muslim festival Eid, the Jewish Hanukkah or Hindu Diwali.
Meanwhile, some schools are struggling with government regulators.
Some councils are threatening to ban the presentations “amid health and safety fears over curtains and chairs,” The Press and Journal reports.
Safety edicts are being issued by council “occupational health, safety and well-being teams,” shocking school leaders and children.
One such demand requires ensuring chairs are in a fixed position or linked together “so that it cannot be moved easily by an audience in a state of excitement,” according to the paper.
Regulators are also closely scrutinizing the fire retardancy of stage curtains.
“We have had concerts there for 30 or 40 years and never had an incident. There is no more risk this year than there was last year,” says Fiona Matthews, chairwoman of Castletown Primary School Parent Council.
Town leaders ended up stepping in and overruling their regulators.
“Health and safety is important – but when things like this happen it is ridiculed,” Landward Caithness councillor Matthew Reiss says.
Other schools are clamping down on picture taking.
The Manchester Evening News reports only 38 percent of schools now allow parents to take pictures at will.
Nearly 20 percent ban snapping photos altogether.
A third of schools require parents who do take photos to sign a form stating they will not post them to social media sites.
Siobhan Freegard from Netmums tells the paper, “Nothing makes a parent prouder than seeing their child on stage at the Christmas concert, but like Nativity plays, this tradition is dying out.”