Yeppoon State School head Laurelle Allen wrote the apology after a family claimed she had discriminated against them by using "Christmas" too many times in school newsletters.The story has echoes of the US case of Michael Newdow, an atheist nutbag who was determined that his 9-year-old daughter should not hear the word 'God' in the US Pledge of Allegiance recited in her classroom.
Paul and Melanie Jowsey, whose children Charles, 10, and Harrison, 8, attend the central Queensland school, do not celebrate Christmas and oppose the "historical dominance of Christianity" in Australia.
Yeppoon Principal Allen's reply to the Jowseys' demand she respond within 14 days was:
"I firstly must apologise for offending you and your family.That Queensland Premier Peter Beattie said 'school principals should be free to discuss Christmas at will' and other groups have said, quite rightly, that Allen should not have apologised is somewhat heartening.
"You are right in that there are many references to Christmas and the Christmas season in the recent newsletters.
"On reflection, I should have referred to the holiday season rather than the Christmas season."
But the fact that she did kow-tow to such scumbags as the Jowseys is exceedingly disturbing and frankly she needs hauling into head office and telling she's been a total prat.
As for the Jowseys, the most unfortunate issue regarding this pair of cretins - perhaps after the fact that they have two children for whom one feels sorry - is that they run a company called Tag Master which produces a range of pet identification products called J-Tags.
Tag Master has contracts to supply councils around Australia, so, unfortunately, pet owners among you out there may in fact be unwittingly funding the Jowseys' not-uncomfortable lifestyle.
You can wish the Jowseys a Merry Christmas here and here.
The Jowsey's respond!
I get this rather polite, if rather longsuffering, e-mail in response to mine:
Thank you NoraDear friend Caz didn't receive the same politeness. Alas, no Festivus miracle here.
We did not ask the principal for an apology. We merely brought to her attention the fact that her intense mentions of Christmas in newsletters and letters to parents may be in breach of anti discrimination law. We did not ask of her to change the name of Christmas to holiday or festive.
All the best for 2006.
Paul & Mel