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New York school district bans 'Jingle Bells' from curriculum

The Brighton Central School District in Monroe County said the decision came after reviewing the use of several songs in the elementary music curriculum.
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MONROE COUNTY, N.Y. — In an ongoing effort to be more culturally responsive, thoughtful, and inclusive, the Brighton Central School District has banned the holiday song 'Jingle Bells' from its elementary music curriculum.

A community member recently asked the district for more information regarding the district's decision to use different songs in the elementary music curriculum. The district's Superintendent Kevin McGowan responded in a letter to parents on Tuesday citing several staff members' reasons as to why the song 'Jingle Bells' should no longer be used. One of them was that the song was first performed in minstrel shows where white actors performed in blackface. 

McGowan also wrote in his letter that "a song so closely related to a religious holiday that is not celebrated by everyone in our community was not likely a song that we would have wanted as part of the school curriculum in the first place."

The letter went on to stress that this decision is not to push an agenda, but a "thoughtful shift made by thoughtful staff members who thought they could accomplish their instructional objective using different material."

You can read Superintendent McGowan's full letter here.