Author's note: On Tuesday afternoon Bangor High School principal Paul Butler reversed his decision. Catherine Gordon will be allowed to keep her pink Christmas tree in her classroom.
Catherine Gordon has had a Christmas tree in her classroom at Bangor High School for 30 years. On Friday, the principal sent her an email ordering her to take down her tiny pink tree.
“I cried,” she told me in a telephone interview. “It was awful. It was so sad.”
Ms. Gordon said she was told her Hello Kitty-themed Christmas tree was a “symbol of one religion over another.”
“The tree had no religious symbols on it whatsoever. No crosses or angels, just pink Hello Kitties,” she wrote on her Facebook page.
So this is where we are as a nation – a place where a teacher cannot decorate her classroom with a Hello Kitty-themed Christmas tree.
“In alignment with national and state standards, the Bangor School Department educates students about culture, traditions, and holidays through curriculum ties in English language arts, music, art, social studies and world languages,” the Bangor School Superintendent wrote in a statement. “Our focus is educating students to become global citizens with the necessary 21st century skills for college and career readiness for their future success.”
Oh, for heaven’s sake. It’s a freaking Hello Kitty Christmas tree not a Living Nativity.
“Why is a pink Hello kitty tree with absolutely no religious symbols offensive?” she wondered.
Ms. Gordon told me the pink tree has been in her classroom for years and no one has ever complained.
“Not one child said it was inappropriate or made them feel uncomfortable,” she said.
Ms. Gordon fondly recalls her early days of teaching when teachers were allowed to host Christmas parties. And they could serve cookies and sing Christmas carols and yes – even decorate Christmas trees.
But those politically incorrect days are long gone.
“None of that is allowed now,” she wrote on Facebook. “I feel that this is definitely a turning point in our society – when everything offends everyone all the time.”
It makes you just want to curl up in your safe space, doesn’t it?
“It just sucks the joy out of everything,” the teacher wrote.
Ms. Davis told me she had no idea her private Facebook posting would go viral – but it did. And now the entire nation is talking about her 32-inch plastic pink tree.
“I’m not an activist and I’m not trying to make a political statement,” she said. “I’m just a girl from Maine who likes to hunt and fish and do outdoor things.”
And she really likes to decorate her classroom for the holidays.
“It’s really sad that we have become a society – that in our wanting to be tolerant – has become extremely intolerant of everything,” she said.
Hello tolerance. Goodbye Kitty.