- (Photo: AP / Sandy Huffaker)
A Rhode Island public school decided to go for a more politically correct Easter representation this season when they changed the name of the iconic Easter Bunny to Peter Rabbit, claiming that the original was too Christian.
The new Peter was meant to be part of a school craft fair that was organized at Tiverton Middle School in Tiverton, R.I., about 60 miles south of Boston, and was renamed by William Rearick, the school district's superintendent, so that it would be more respectful to peoples differing backgrounds.
The name alteration has created a stir and even prompted one of the Rhode Island legislators to begin work on a bill to prevent anyone from changing the name of the Easter Bunny.
"Like many Rhode Islanders I'm quite frustrated by people trying to change traditions that we've held in this country for 150 years, like the Easter bunny," explained Rep. Richard Singleton to Good Morning America Weekend Edition.
The new proposed bill, nicknamed the Easter Bunny Act, would ban name changes of popular secular and religious symbols, which would include more than just the Easter Bunny and Christianity.
There are many, however, that do not mind the conversion of the Easter Bunny to Peter Rabbit.
Most Christians do not look at the Easter Bunny as Christian symbol and, therefore, would not make a big uproar over the controversy.
"As a Christian symbol, I would say [the Easter bunny] is not one of those that I would go to the barricades to defend," said the Rev. Bernard Healy, the Catholic Diocese of Providence, R.I., in a statement. The Easter bunny is not a religious symbol. Why it's being banned doesn't make sense."
Several secular groups have applauded the name modification, seeing it as a positive step towards fairness. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), a non-profit whose goal is "to defend and preserve individual rights and liberties," was happy with the choice, noting that public schools should not celebrate Easter.
Singleton, however, is convinced of the importance of maintaining the bunnys identity,.
[This is] political correctness gone wild. It's crazy," he concluded to Good Morning America Weekend Edition.