A local Mississippi Head Start program that enforced a ban on Santa Claus from visiting children last month is now at risk of losing funding in the upcoming year. Concerned members of DeSoto County’s Board of Supervisors say the ban conflicts with Head Start’s “set of core values which … respects families, cultures and diversity.”
Prior to Christmas, a memo from Head Start state headquarters in Holly Springs implored employees in the program’s 367 pre-school centers to refrain from displaying Santa Claus and Christmas-themed decorations. Specifically, Head Start’s Virda Lee warned, “Please DO NOT invite Santa to your center.”
A “Winter Wonderland” theme featuring snowmen and snowflakes, however, was suggested by Lee as a suitable alternative during the season otherwise known as ‘Christmas.’
While Christmas was shunned in the name of promoting ‘tolerance’ and ‘diversity’ to Head Start’s young participants, it was revealed by Gov. Haley Barbour’s spokesman this week that the ban on all things Christmas appears to be the handiwork of a naughty elf, aka Virda Lee, because it’s definitely not the “official position” of the statewide program.
DeSoto County’s Board of Supervisors said they want answers from Head Start regarding its official position on Christmas before making critical funding decisions later this month.
“We have an American culture, and every time we turn around it gets chipped away and chipped away, and I’m getting tired of it,” said Supervisor Allen Latimer.