(Photo by tanakawho)
A non-religious, secularly decorated, fun-tastic holiday tree—selected and decorated by kids on probation in Multnomah County—will be reinstated today at the Donald E. Long juvenile justice center after being removed Tuesday amid questions about its possible inappropriate religiosity, county officials confirmed to WWire.
After visitors to the Northeast Portland center raised questions about the tree, Judge Maureen McKnight passed the concerns along to the center's administrators. The administrators then moved the tree from the building's lobby back out of the public's sight.
But, after consulting county policies and rules, it was decided the tree was, after all, kosher.
"We're not valorizing one culture over another," says Department of Community Justice spokesman Robb Freda-Cowie. "We're trying to encourage the kids to be open to the cultures in their community."
In fact, the tree had elicited discussions about Hanukkah, Kwanzaa and seasonal traditions of giving, he says.
"It was intended to be a teaching object," Freda-Cowie says.