Taking that Christmas Spirit to the People
Move over, Denver extraterrestrial commission initiative. We have a new contender for initiative of the year.
Today a brother and sister, David Joseph Hyatt and Merry Susan Hyatt (and yes, that's how she spells her first name, and there's no story behind it, she says), filed a ballot initiative at the attorney general's office that is entitled, "Freedom to Present Christmas Music in Public School School Classrooms or Assemblies."
Your blogger, who enjoys caroling and attended a junior high that required everyone to sing "Let There Peace On Earth" at the end of the holiday pageant, was unaware that Christmas music was under threat. If so, the people should rise to the occasion and defend it. "Each public elementary and second school shall provide opportunities to its pupils for listening to or performing Christmas music at an appropriate time of year," says the measure. That may sound compulsory, but the initiative also requires schools to give parents three weeks' notice of Christmas music, and to allow them to opt out of having their children be a part of it.
When I reached Merry Hyatt by phone in Redding this afternoon, she explained that at her previous school district in California (she's a substitute teacher who lived in Riverside County but recently moved north), songs with specific Christmas content were barred from the holiday party. "We were having Christmas without Jesus," she says, which was just silly. She was unaware of any specific law or rule prohibiting them, but "people were just guessing that they shouldn't do it."
Hyatt said she didn't have "any money," much less the $2 million it typically costs to qualify for the measure. "I’m just going to have to go to the churches and do it for free," she told me.