Pilloried pilgrims

Thanksgiving meals don't often deteriorate into altercations requiring police intervention--unless you're the parent of a kindergartner in Claremont, CA, that is. For four decades, tots from two schools in this typically peaceful town have taken turns dressing up as pilgrims and Native Americans (OK, we'll say it: Indians) and hosting a sumptuous Thanksgiving feast. But not this year. Out: handmade paper pilgrim hats, bonnets, fringed vests, and Native American headdresses. In: protests outside Condit Elementary School, where parents objected to the political incorrectness and apparent unsuitability of said dress-up festivities. "It's demeaning," Michelle Raheja wrote to her daughter's teacher upon learning of the not-entirely-historically-accurate apparel requirements. Raheja, whose mother is Seneca, elaborates: "I'm sure you can appreciate the inappropriateness of asking children to dress up like slaves (and kind slave masters), or Jews (and friendly Nazis), or members of any other racial minority group who has struggled in our nation's history." Yowzers. Police separated the arguing parents while kindergartners--some of whom were dressed up anyway--played in the grass. "The kids were oblivious," said Lt. Dennis Smith of the Claremont police department, "as they should be." And thank goodness for that.

"Claremont parents clash over kindergarten Thanksgiving costumes," by Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2008

"Claremont school Thanksgiving costumes create a commotion," by Seema Mehta, Los Angeles Times, November 25, 2008

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