One Fewer Stop for Santa This Year: He’s Banned From Head Start Classes in St. Peter

Joe Kimball, Minnesota Post (St. Paul), December 16, 2010

Santa Claus, as portrayed by Dennis Jackson, won’t be visiting students at the Head Start classes in St. Peter this year.

Jackson has made appearances the past four years at the classes for students who need help preparing for school, but this year officials said, “No, no, no.”

The reason: The classes have many immigrant children who don’t celebrate Christmas, says the Mankato Free Press.

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The official explanation from Chris Marben, who coordinates regional Head Start programs through Mankato-based Minnesota Valley Action Council: “We have Somali families in the program. We’re respecting the wishes of families in the program.”

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“The simple truth is that southern Minnesota has become a much more culturally diverse society than it was a few decades ago,” she told the paper. “Part of our challenge in Head Start is providing an environment where young children from many different cultures can all feel comfortable.”

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