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Reuters

In a move to show respect to all religions, a school district in Oregon has decided to ban religious-themed decorations in the classrooms during the holidays.

The decision, which was revealed on Tuesday, bans decorations with images such as Santa Claus, according to KATU.

The school district released a notice to staff: You may still decorate your door or office if you like, but we ask that you be respectful and sensitive to the diverse perspectives and beliefs of our community and refrain from using religious-themed decorations or images like Santa Claus.

"It really went out as a notification to staff, not even parents, just to make sure they are being sensitive and thoughtful as they enter the holiday season," Beth Graser, communications director for Hillsboro School District, told FOX 8.

As expected, some parents are not happy with the new rule and believe it's unnecessary.

"If you're going to put a giant cross on the window that's one thing, but I think Santa Claus is more folklore and American history than a religious symbol at this point," said parent Jason Ramirez.

Graser told FOX 8 the decision is just a "reminder for people to be sensitive."

"We were NOT banning Santa, nor were we going to be the 'decorations police' and scold people if they happened to have decorations up that might be too Christmas-y," Graser said, "unless they were totally over the top.

If a classroom turns into the Christmas version of a haunted house and you have to walk down candy cane lane then that's a different story."

The story caught on through social media and sparked a larger conversation about which imagery should and shouldn't be allowed in schools.

Graser added there has been no policy change on the matter and it was meant to ensure that a yearly door decorating contest didn't get out of hand.

"Quite honestly the 'competition' aspect meant that several of the decorations had gotten excessive," she said. "As a result, we had some staff members and visitors to our building indicate that they were uncomfortable and didn't feel welcome due to the overwhelming Christmas atmosphere that had been created."

Graser said public schools have a responsibility to ensure all students feel comfortable.

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