Brighton Superintendent defends dropping "Jingle Bells" from curriculum

BRIGHTON, N.Y. (WHEC) — It made national headlines – an elementary school in Brighton nixed the popular holiday song "Jingle Bells" from its curriculum.

Superintendent of schools Kevin McGowan explained the reasoning for Council Rock Primary School to cut the carol.

"It may seem silly to some, but the fact that “Jingle Bells” was first performed in minstrel shows where white actors performed in blackface does actually matter when it comes to questions of what we use as material in school," said McGowan in a statement.

The concern stems from an article written by Kyna Hamill, in which she studied the history of "Jingle Bells" being sung in minstrel shows. There was also concern over slave imagery within the song according to assistant superintendent Allison Rioux.

The issue made some national headlines, which brought the Brighton Central Schools superintendent to offer the overall reasoning.

McGowan said that the removal of the tune wasn’t a because of a policy initiative or "cancel culture at its finest."

"This was very simply a thoughtful shift made by thoughtful staff members who thought they could accomplish their instructional objective using different material," McGowan said.

His full statement can be viewed by clicking here.