Oregon school district bans Santa from classrooms, seeks religious tolerance

HILLSBORO, Ore. -- An Oregon school district has asked staff to not use Santa Claus in their holiday decorations at school, saying it's a way to respect all religious beliefs.

"You may still decorate your door or office if you like, but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus," the Hillsboro School District said in a letter to staff, KATU reports.

"It really went out as a notification to staff, not even parents, just to make sure they are being sensitive and thoughtful as they enter the holiday season," district spokeswoman Beth Graser told the station.

Staff who want to decorate offices or doors were told to refrain from religious-themed decorations or images like Santa.

Some parents say it's bogus.

"I'm from that generation where we believe in Santa, and my kids believe in Santa, and they should be able to celebrate it," a parent said.

"If you're going to put a giant cross on the window that's one thing, but i think Santa Claus is more folklore and American history than a religious symbol at this point," parent Jason Ramirez said.

Added Graser: "Again, it's just really a reminder to get people to be sensitive."

Several other school districts in the Portland, Ore., have similar policies.