In the world of “seriously?!?” this legislative reaction to political correctness gone amok is just seriously sad. By “sad” I mean that it is even necessary in the first place. Unfortunately, it is, and even the new law didn’t stop some schools from banning Christmas.
If you hadn’t heard, this time last year Texas passed a bill that was co-authored by Dwayne Bohac, a Republican, and Richard Raymond, a Democrat, that allows students and teachers alike to say “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Hanukah” without fear of retribution or lawsuits. The bill “allows students, parents, teachers and administrators the freedom to acknowledge these traditional winter holidays without fear of litigation or punishment and restores common sense by placing Supreme Court precedent into state law,” according to the law’s official website.
The law says specifically:
WINTER CELEBRATIONS. (a) A school district may educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including:
(1) “Merry Christmas”;
(2) “Happy Hanukkah”; and
(3) “happy holidays.”
(b) Except as provided by Subsection (c), a school district may display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas image such as a nativity scene or Christmas tree, if the display includes a scene or symbol of:
(1) more than one religion; or
(2) one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol.
(c) A display relating to a traditional winter celebration may not include a message that encourages adherence to a particular religious belief.
Basically, it codifies what most Christians I know have been saying for years, just give everyone equal time. If a teacher is going to talk about Hanukah and the pagan winter solstice, then let them talk about Christmas too. Not proselytize, but give the same time to the “some people celebrate this holiday” kind of lesson. Hell, throw in Santa if you want, but don’t outlaw it.
Again, how sad that we need a law and a website. But it gets better. One school district decided they didn’t have to abide by the law (I guess they wanted to take a page from Obama’s handbook), and banned Christmas trees, wearing red and green and expressions of “Merry Christmas” at an upcoming “winter” party for students. The students will not be allowed to make any reference to any holiday, including Christmas, at the party or in school.
The PTA at Nichols Elementary School in Frisco, Texas, sent the email out to parents with the rules. The school district released the following statement: “The school was unaware of this and it was not an official PTA correspondence either. There have never been any limitations on what students wear, what they bring to share with their classmates on party days … what greetings people exchange with each other.”
However, the ban still remains in place. The school superintendent said the district was allowing principals to set their own policies about holiday celebrations, regardless of what the law says. Further, the principal and PTA of Nichols are keeping the no Christmas rules in place because “they didn’t want to offend any families and since each family donates money they feel this is the best policy,” read an email sent to state Rep. Pat Fallon.
Never mind that families of kids who celebrate Christmas or Hanukah and might want to wear something red or green, or wish a teacher or classmate “Merry/Happy” might be offended by this obviously illegal policy.
Fallon said his office has been inundated with emails and calls from teachers and principals who are worried about what they can and can’t do. “One teacher wanted to do ‘Elf on a Shelf’ and she thought she would get in trouble. So this is what it’s come to, America. You’ve got college-educated teacher terrified to put a toy elf on the shelf because she might get sued by the ACLU or some other left wing anti-Christmas group.”
Want more examples of how ridiculous it’s gotten? School music teachers are not letting kids sing or play music selections that could be associated with any religious holiday.
The Alliance Defense Fund had to send out letters telling school districts that it WAS allowed. Court precedents have stated that Christmas carols can be performed in public schools. As the ADF letter explained “every federal court to examine the issue has determined that including religious Christmas carols in school music programs fully complies with the First Amendment.”
As they continued, “No federal court has ever ruled that including Christmas carols and other religious music in a public school’s music program violates the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause.”
An ADF memo points out that “Our Constitution acknowledges that people of faith have a right to openly express their beliefs in the public square. But many school officials attempt to prohibit students and teachers from expressing any religious aspect of Christmas,” said the memo.
Classroom decorations depicting snowmen and reindeer have replaced decorations such as nativity scenes and angels. Even the “Christmas Tree” has often been degraded into a “holiday” tree. Some school officials have gone so far as to prohibit the common greeting “Merry Christmas” and, instead, insist that teachers and students merely say “Happy Holidays” and refer to the Christmas break as “Winter Break” or “Sparkle Season.”
— Students are allowed to sing religious Christmas carols in public schools.
— School officials can refer to a “Christmas holiday.”
— Public schools may close on holidays such as Christmas.
— There is no duty to recognize all religious holidays.
— Schools cannot ban teachers and students from saying “Merry Christmas.”
— Schools can have students study the religious origins of Christmas and read the biblical accounts of the birth of Christ.
— Public schools can display a nativity scene.
In other areas, like my home state, some counties have gone so overboard that even the school calendars have removed any reference to religious days completely. In Montgomery County, Maryland, the school board removed any named religious holiday from the 2015-2016 school calendar after a Muslim group asked for a Muslin holiday to be included on the calendar. Muslim community leaders had been asking for one or two of their major holidays to be included, along with the Christian (Christmas and Easter) and Jewish (Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur).
In reaction school officials removed all names of days school will be closed from the calendar. The days will still be given off, but no reason for them. Even the Muslim leaders who asked see the ridiculousness of that move. “By stripping the names Christmas, Easter, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, they have alienated other communities now, and we are no closer to equality,” said Saqib Ali, a former Maryland state delegate and co-chair of the Equality for Eid Coalition. “It’s a pretty drastic step, and they did it without any public notification.”
Politically correct absurdity, codified. Welcome to 21st century America.