San Jose parents pull students out of school after class trip to see Santa canceled

Saturday, December 19, 2015
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Some parents in the Cambrian Park neighborhood were so upset about the district cancelled an annual trip to see Santa, they decided to pull their kids out of school Friday so that they could go on the field trip of their own.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- Waging a war on Christmas? That's what some parents at a San Jose elementary school are claiming after the principal canceled an annual field trip to see Santa Claus.

Some parents in the Cambrian Park neighborhood were so upset, they decided to pull their kids out of school Friday so that they could go on a field trip of their own.

It was a showdown of sorts between parents at Sartorette Elementary School in San Jose. "I've been crying every day this week. I can't sleep, I haven't eaten, I'm actually sick from all of this," San Jose resident Vanessa Howes said.

WATCH VIDEO: Parents threaten to protest canceled trip to see Santa

For years, kindergartners would take a walking field trip to the Big E Caf, where they would drink hot chocolate and meet with Santa Claus.

However, this year, one of the parents, who is Jewish, complained to the district, saying the activity was not inclusive.

"We have to design our curriculum to reach all students, and that's what was not being done at this school. And I'm surprised that it's been for 10 years," San Jose parent Talia said.

WATCH VIDEO: War on Christmas? San Jose parents clash over controversial Santa trip

But on Friday, some parents fought back by pulling their kids out of school to walk the same route to the caf.

District officials did not release the exact number of students who failed to show up for class.

Neighbor Jennifer Schachner stopped by to show her support for the families. "Maybe it was something that they could've waited to decide to change their policy next year and kind of understand that this years, the kids were already looking forward to all of this," she said.

READ MORE: Baby born with partially developed brain beats odds to meet Santa

Some couldn't believe it had come to this. "I just feel like it's unfair, it's unjust and the way it was handled, I'm not happy about it at all," Howes said.

Others say cancelling the initial trip was the right thing to do. "I hope that they have a nice time visiting him on their own time and not as part of a public school event," Talia said.

Now there's a debate over whether Santa is merely a symbol of the holidays or religion itself.

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