Can Public Schools Celebrate Christmas?

Schwartz, Allen D.
December 1981
Education Digest;Dec1981, Vol. 47 Issue 4, p60
The article informs that Christmas songs in public schools are a frequent source of controversy in terms of their legality. This issue has now been addressed by a South Dakota federal court, in the case of Florey v. Sioux Falls School. The court found that Christmas programs, including Christmas carols, allowed the students to learn about the customs and cultural heritage of the United States. The board rules allow presentation of material that, although of religious origin, has taken on an independent meaning. The court found that much of the art, literature, and music associated with traditional holidays, particularly Christmas, has acquired a significance no longer confined to the religious sphere of life and so has become integrated into the national cultural heritage. The court held that excessive governmental entanglement does not occur if school officials are required to determine if a given activity is religious. The court held that the rules assist school officials in making those decisions.


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