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School Defends Canning of ‘Jingle Bells’ Over Song’s History

BRIGHTON, NY (AP) — An upstate New York school district is defending its decision to drop the holiday classic “Jingle Bells” over the song’s history.

Brighton Central School District Superintendent Kevin McGowan wrote in a message on the Rochester-area district’s website that it was appropriate to discontinue using the song at the Council Rock Primary School considering research has shown it may initially been performed by white actors in blackface in the 19th century.

The decision was originally reported by the Rochester Beacon.

McGowan said removing the song wasn’t an example of cancel culture or meant to push any agenda, but instead was a “simple, thoughtful curricular decision,” the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle reported. The school’s students are in kindergarten through second grade.

“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,” McGowan wrote. I’m glad that our staff paused when learning of this, reflected, and decided to use different material to accomplish the same objective in class.”

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