The head of a US school has intervened to ensure students carry on singing the original lyrics to the Christmas carol “Deck the Halls”.

A music teacher in Michigan took the decision to replace the phrase “gay apparel” with “bright apparel” after children found the word funny and she struggled to maintain control over them.

The head teacher of Cherry Knoll Elementary School, Principal Chris Parker told television station WPBN he intervened immediately on hearing about the substitution and would have preferred her to educate the children about the use of the word.

He said: “We have an anti-bullying and discrimination policy that includes sexual orientation, so going forward the teacher will be addressing, this is how we’re supposed to be reacting, this is the way to be respectful about this.”

The carol Deck the Halls is based on the sixteenth century Welsh air, with eighteenth century lyrics.