This article can be found published on the Daily Local News‘ website.
WEST CHESTER — Social media has the innate ability to blow any type of news out of proportion, and for the West Chester Area School District, the exact thing happened over a missed holiday.
Every school year, the district creates, prints and mails school calendars out to parents with all the important dates on there, including holidays, school closings, half days, proms, dances, concerts and just about everything related to the schools that a person can think of.
With all those hundreds of events and dates to remember and put down on the template, an oversight was made as Christmas was accidentally left off the calendar for the upcoming 2016-17 year.
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As it was pointed out by district Superintendent Jim Scanlon, it was just an honest mistake – nothing was meant by it and as soon as it was pointed out to the administration, the online calendar was promptly fixed.
“We build our calendar from a blank template and make many edits,” Scanlon said in a release about the oversight. “Even with several eyes proofing it, we miss it — and those are eyes of people who do celebrate Christmas, including me.”
Social media, however, exploded at the oversight, perceiving it instead as almost a war against Christmas, especially after a Fox 29 reporter, who had the calendar in his hand, posted a picture of the mistake onto his Facebook page on Aug. 10 with a provoking caption.
“Are you offended by this?” the Fox 29 reporter wrote with the photo. “Many parents in the West Chester Area School District are fuming over the release of this school calendar. It lists many holidays like Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, Diwali, Rosh Hashanah — but NO CHRISTMAS!!”
The district parents, however, are not fuming, as the local TV reporter claims.
After releasing a statement about the mistake, Scanlon told the Daily Local News he received 60 emails from parents, 59 of which were either commenting that mistakes happen or laughing about the accidental oversight.
Only one was negative.
Even on the district’s Facebook page, there was only one negative post out of 19 comments on the release from Scanlon.
“Thank you for your post,” read one comment from Barb Morrow-March. “It is easy to do. (I) made my own calendar for a gift and left my oldest child’s birthday off. Things happen!”
The “fuming” district parents the Fox 29 reporter alluded to in his post seem to be more from people who don’t live within the boundaries of West Chester.
“People commenting aren’t from our district,” Scanlon said.
The TV reporter did edit his original post with an “update” that the district said it was a mistake, but the damage had already been done — at least on his page.
The district will not print a new page to send out so that it won’t incur any additional costs, especially since roughly 7,000 calendars go out yearly, but Scanlon instead encourages the parents to just write it in their calendar if need be, or go to the district’s website to print off the fixed month.
“I’m not sure what else we can do,” Scanlon said. “People make honest mistakes. We didn’t leave Christmas exempt intentionally.”
This minor error is just another example that people shouldn’t always jump to conclusions, and that others shouldn’t believe everything they see posted on Facebook.