A primary school has outraged parents by doing “away with the manger” in its annual nativity play and making children act out a "politically correct" jewellery heist. The traditional storyline, which has seen generations of children dress as shepherds with tea towels for headdresses, was replaced with a bizarre tale of violent robbers. Lyrics to the popular Christmas carol Away In A Manger were scrapped and a version of the song that opens with the line “away with the manger” will be sung instead. Parents of pupils atin Essex were stunned to be told their children would be performing the robbery story in lieu of the tale of Jesus’s birth.
The “Christmas Tale” stars a pair of robbers, named Bob and Bill, who raid a
jewellery store in broad daylight to steal a manger full of rubies and emeralds.
But some parents believe the story is inappropriate for the school’s seven to
11-year-old intake. The decision by teachers to stage the controversial production came after the
local area suffered a spate of armed robberies: Canvey Island residents have
seen seven violent armed raids in the past six weeks. One parent has already removed their child from the Christmas production in
protest over its violent undertones.
Another parent said: "I think it is a little tasteless to stage the play with
all the recent reports of armed robberies on the island. I don't understand why the politically correct brigade has had to get rid of
the traditional story anyway? I can't see that this gangster story is going to be better than something
from the Bible. What are they going to have our children saying? 'Sorry Mary and Joseph, but
there is no room in the cells?'" The school’s new version of Away In A Manger begins: “Away with the manger,
Two robbers stole it, They were called Bob and Bill, And they were both big
Screenshot from here.
Janet Vaughan, the school’s head teacher, defended the new production, saying
it was merely a light-hearted twist on the traditional Christmas tale. She said: "It is very, very funny and nothing more than a light-hearted
version of events. The outcome is the robbers are caught and banged to rights and the true
meaning of Christmas comes across very strongly with a nativity at the end. It is nice to have a fun element to any sort of Christmas production and we
always have a religious basis to it as well. It's nonsense to say the words are anything other than tongue-in-cheek and
the children understand that."