'Parents of local children, education officials and leading Danish politicians have criticized a primary school after it chose to cancel the traditional Christmas service, due to the presence of students of immigrant backgrounds.
"We took the decision because we have children who are not Protestant,” Marianne Vederso Schmidt, the head of Gribskolen in Graested, a town of fewer than 5,000 people in eastern Denmark, wrote in an intranet posting earlier this month.
Schmidt noted that the decision may have been overdue, as the education law forbids preaching “and it must be left to the individual families whether they want to privately attend a service.”
Ten parents complained to the primary school, and the story was immediately picked up by national media, which speculated that the move was aimed at appeasing the sensitivities of Muslim students. Some accused Gribskolen of double standards, considering that last year it staged a 'Syria Week' in which Danish children immersed themselves in Middle Eastern culture, and were given lessons by immigrants.
“I don’t see why our tradition has to be taken away from us, just because someone else at the school believes in something else,” Mette Brüel-Holler, a parent of two enrolled daughters, told TV2. “I come from a small community, where the church is important, and these traditions are beautiful. I remember enjoying them myself as a child, and they are a fundamental part of Christmas.”'
Read more: Criticism after Danish school cancels Christmas to avoid ‘preaching’ to non-Christian children
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