The US Catholic League reports that William Rearick, Schools Superintendent of the Tiverton Public Schools in Rhode Island, has banned the Easter Bunny from appearing at a fundraising event tomorrow at the Tiverton Middle School.
He has also banned the word "Easter" from all school events. He told the Providence Journal that during the last year and a half, he has become "more aware of folks who don't have a Christian background."
Taking the place of the Easter Bunny will be Peter Rabbit, the Catholic League says, and children will be able to get their picture taken with him.
But League president Bill Donohue described it as "unconscionable that in this day and age Superintendent Rearick would choose to honour a thief".
"As every schoolchild knows, Peter Rabbit stole from Mr McGregor's garden," Donohue said.
"To now hold him up as a role model to impressionable youngsters sends the wrong signal. At the very least, grief counsellors should be dispatched to tomorrow's event."
"There is also a more serious matter going on. The event smacks of sexism: Peter Rabbit had three sisters - Flopsy, Mopsy and Cottontail - and there is no historical record of them ever having committed a crime. So why were they passed over? Looks like the glass ceiling is still in place."
Commenting on School Superintendent Rearick's concern not to offend other religions, Donhue said he was "astonished" that Rearick "only recently discovered Jews and Muslims".
"But better late than never. However, it was not a Jew or a Muslim who complained about the Easter Bunny - it was an ex-Catholic, Michael Burk; he is vice chairman of the school committee. No matter, I have news for Superintendent Rearick: he has not resolved the problem.
Rhode Island school bans Easter Bunny (Catholic League, 23/3/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Easter Bunny (Wikipedia)
26 Mar 2007