Principal stands by cancelling Christmas concert
An east Ontario school principal said she stands by her decision to call off a Christmas concert even after she's started getting threatened.
Mhairi Rowland, principal of Cambridge Public School in Embrun, said she would be replacing its traditional concert with a holiday-themed craft fair and moving the concert to February.
Rowland said she's shocked at the backlash she's been getting but stands by her decision,
"I've had a lot of hate mail this morning from people saying this is a religious thing, and it's really not," she said. "The decision to change the concert to February was really so that every child gets to have the joy and the rush of standing up on a stage and performing in front of people that they love."
She said the decision wasn't spurred on by a complaint, and about half the school's parent council agreed with her.
About 207 students go to the school, located about 40 kilometres southeast of Ottawa. All but nine of them celebrate Christmas.
"It hit home, I guess," said Peggy O'Meara, who sits on the school's parent council.
"Maybe they can just adjust it a bit," said one parent. "Not necessarily do the nativity and things like that, but still the Christmas sprit part, Santa Claus."
A leading Ottawa Jewish figure said the move isn't the way to go.
"Christmas has been under assault for the last little while under the guise of inclusivity," said Rabbi Reuven Bulka. "I never thought that inclusivity meant that if you're going something I don't like, you can't do it anymore because it's excluding me."
Friday, the Upper Canada School Board released a statement saying other Christmas activities are happening at the school including a tree-decorating contest and carol singing at a local senior's home.
"The director of education also supports that decision because of the inclusivity that it represents and the respect it shows for all students in the school," said Terry Simzer with the school board.
Some Cambridge parents said they hope the school will consider bringing the concert back next year, something they'll have a chance to express when a survey comes out in the spring.
With a report from CTV Ottawa's Claudia Cautillo and Karen Soloman