The U.S. Postal Service, citing security and privacy concerns of children, will no longer forward "Dear Santa" letters to the Alaska town of North Pole, putting in jeopardy the town's 55-year-old volunteer letter-answering effort by the town.
The concern is that names, addresses and other private information about small children could get into the wrong hands.
Postal Service officials note that a postal worker last year in Maryland recognized a volunteer in the agency's Operation Santa program as a registered sex offender, the Associated Press reports.
The Postal Service now prohibits volunteers in such programs to have access to children's last names and addresses.
Mayor Doug Isaacson says the Postal Service is "running roughshod" over the city of North Pole, whose identity is tied to Christmas, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports.
"What grinch would conceive of something so sinister?" Isaacson tells the paper. He says businesses and civic organizations in the town of 2,200 gear up for the program every year "when we're able to really demonstrate the spirit of Christmas."
Alaska Senator, Lisa Murkowski, issued a letter to the postmaster general asking him to keep the 55 year old tradition:
“Children across the world will be anticipating a letter from Santa this Christmas,” she wrote. “I believe that a small action by the Postal Service to continue the tradition ... could go a long way to bring joy to these children and their families.”
Santa doesn't do "Return to Sender!" What does this say about the state of the US Postal Service?