English elementary school sparks anger for charging parents for Christian nativity play

A Catholic elementary school in England has sparked anger after announcing ticket charges for parents who want to watch their children's Christian nativity play this Christmas.

(REUTERS / Lucy Nicholson)A Christmas nativity scene is seen outside a home in the Sleepy Hollow area of Torrance, California, United States, December 15, 2015.

On Friday, St. Joseph's Catholic Primary School in Worcester sent parents a letter announcing a £1 ticket price for their kids' nativity play. Head Teacher Louise Bury explained that they were charging a fee for the tickets because of "tightening budgets and growing numbers" and assured parents that the money collected would be spent for reading and learning resources, CNBC details.

Bury acknowledged the parents' concern over the payment for their kids' performance. However, she also voiced out her apprehension regarding the way a number of parents treated her staff, describing it as "verbal abuse."

According to Bury, they will use the proceeds of the tickets to buy bilingual books for their 136 students whose mother tongue is not English. The school will also give the books to parents to encourage them to read to their children to help them learn English fast, the Mirror reports.

Aside from that, the school will use the money to buy "story sacks" so that parents can help their children learn using props.

Meanwhile, some parents accused the Catholic school of "racism" against white pupils and at least one reported it to local media.

"It's an utter outrage that the parents of English-speaking pupils are being forced to pay for English lessons for foreign kids," one parent said, according to the Mirror. "If you say anything against this sort of thing you're instantly branded a racist but enough is enough ... If your kid doesn't speak English then surely you should pay for these books and teach your child the language which is used in the school."

Other parents have expressed dismay because they will not be able to see their kids' performance since tickets for the only evening show have sold out. They also griped about being made to provide costumes for their children but not being able to watch them perform.