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Norwood votes to change ‘Winter Recess’ to ‘Christmas Recess’

More than 76 percent of Norwood residents at Monday night’s annual town election voted to change the title of their public schools’ “Winter Recess” back to “Christmas Recess,” according to the town clerk’s office.

Voters from each of the town’s nine precints were represented, with 2,324 residents voting for the change, and 733 voting against it. The vote was a non-binding referendum; town officials were also on the ballot.

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“The ball’s now in the court of the School Committee,” said Selectwoman Helen Abdallah Donohue. “They have two choices. They can either change it back and reflect the 3-to-1 decision of the people of the town, or they can ignore it, and anger a lot of people in this town.”

The Board of Selectman voted to place the question on the ballot after receiving a petition to do so in January. The Board voted 3-2 in favor of including the question, according to the board’s clerk, Francis Jessoe.

The School Committee, which voted to change the wording from “Christmas Recess” to “Winter Recess” in 2011, voted several years previously to remove a Nativity scene from the lawn of Balch Elementary School, a public school in South Norwood, Donohue said.

“We had a manger on that lawn for 70 to 80 years,” Donohue said. “We had 700 signatures in support of it and the whole town wanted it, but the School Committee voted against it. We had to give up on it.”

The Nativity scene was relocated to the George Morris House and Museum in South Norwood.

It was vandalized this year. The baby Jesus doll was stolen from the manger, Donohue said.

Catalina Gaitan can be reached at catalina.gaitan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter at @catalina_gaitan.
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