Texas school forbids references to Christmas, Christmas trees at ‘Winter Party’

Katie LaPotin, Red Alert Politics, December 5, 2013

Parents and a local state legislator are up in arms after learning about a party for students at a Frisco, Texas elementary school at which children won’t be allowed to say “Merry Christmas” or have a Christmas tree.

According to MyFox Dallas-Fort Worth, parents of students at Nichols Elementary School were sent home a letter by the school’s Parent-Teacher Association recently that included three rules for the party. The rules expressly prohibited any references being made to Christmas or any other religious holiday; no red, green or Christmas trees; and nothing that would stain the carpet at the school.

State Rep. Pat Fallon, who was forwarded the letter by an angry parent at Nichols Elementary School, believes that the party goes against a state law passed in June that encourages schools to “educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including ‘Merry Christmas,’ ‘Happy Hanukkah,’ and ‘happy holidays’.”

“I agree with [rule] number three, but not one and two,” Fallon, a Republican who helped author the law, told the station.

The conservative organization Texas Values launched a campaign earlier in the week to remind schools of the new law, with radio ads running in the state’s four largest media markets. The ad closes with the voice of a child saying, “And remember, it’s OK to say ‘Merry Christmas’.”

“We’re celebrating Christmas, so why can’t it be a Christmas party or maybe a holiday party?” Fallon continued. “But they’ve skipped over ‘holiday’ and go to ‘winter.’ That’s political correctness gone too far.”

Fallon also told the station that he spoke with the school superintendent, who informed him that the party rules weren’t a district policy; however, the PTA seems to be less solid on that position.

A subsequent email from a PTA member was sent to other party organizers that read, ”Today at the PTA meeting it was stated that they had decided to keep everything the same. She said they didn’t want to offend any families and since each family donates money they feel this is the best policy.”

“It’s my understanding that nothing has changed,” Fallon said.

Parents are also confused about the policy, however, noting that despite the school’s diversity the rules don’t make any sense.

“The kids that are used to saying Christmas,” parent Rosie Ciullo told the station, “They should be able to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ and the one who doesn’t want to say ‘Merry Christmas,’ don’t say it — say it your way.”

The school district emailed a statement to the station Wednesday about the PTA email, saying that, ”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.”

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