Teacher Forced to Take Down 'Inappropriate' Hello Kitty Christmas Tree (VIDEO)

catherine gordonIt might be hard to imagine anyone finding a small pink Christmas tree decorated with Hello Kitty ornaments "inappropriate," but that's exactly what veteran high school teacher Catherine Gordon was told by her principal about her classroom's holiday decorations -- and she's having a tough time understanding why (along with everybody else!).


Bangor, Maine–based Gordon has been putting up festive holiday decor in her room for 30 years, she says, with no problems. And, just to be clear, we're not talking about a nativity scene here -- we're talking about cartoon characters and a fake pink tree, which is about as secular as you can get. So she was shocked when she received an email from Principal Paul Butler telling her she had to take it down.

“It had no religious symbols on it, no crosses, no angels, no stars, just pink Hello Kittys,” Gordon told Bangor Daily News.

“And, in the 30 years that I’ve decorated for the holidays, I’ve had not one parent contact me, not one parent phone call, not one parent email. Not one child has come up to me and said they thought it was inappropriate, and students at this age are very vocal.”

Indeed, Gordon's students were very vocal -- about how disappointed they were that the tree had to be removed from their classroom.

“They were sad when they came to class today and saw it was gone,” said Gordon. “They said, ‘Where’s our tree? Not ‘Where’s your tree?’”

Awww. Clearly this holiday tradition meant a lot to everyone! Gordon even gets choked up talking about it:

Seriously, how is that tree offensive?? When it comes to showing your holiday spirit, these days it seems impossible to strike a balance that won't offend at least someone: Either you're not "Christmasy" enough (i.e., Starbucks's plain red cups), or you're too Christmasy, and it's pretty tricky to figure out what's going to fall into which category. As a mom, I can't imagine any parent (or kid) being upset by this display, regardless of his or her personal belief system. (Unless it involves some sort of anti–Hello Kitty dogma.)

More from The Stir: 'Tis the Season to Freak Out About Starbucks's Holiday Cups

I can say, however, that Gordon seems like just the kind of teacher you'd want your kid to have: truly devoted to creating a warm and upbeat environment for her students. And she's trying to have a positive attitude about the whole thing:

“We have male faculty members wearing ‘The Grinch That Stole Christmas’ ties and we have female staff members wear holiday sweaters and that’s okay that you can wear a tree on a tie or a sweater but not have one in your classroom?" she said. 

"So, I think that a good dialogue will come from this and that’s always a good thing if people can talk about an issue calmly. Maybe some good will come of this.”

We sure hope so!


Image via Bangor Daily News

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