A school board member says the policy was adopted in 2001 as part of "The No Child Left Behind Act" in order to receive federal funding. However, parents and teachers say they have never heard of these rules until now.
The school board is asking principals in the district to enforce the policy. We obtained a copy of a memo titled "Religious Expression in Schools." It states "It would inappropriate to organize a Christmas party for a classroom or school." Parties now have to be called "multicultural celebrations." Religious symbols such as Christmas trees, angels and menorahs can only be used in lesson plans.
As far as holiday concert is concerned the program has to be "balanced." Certain songs and expressions are not allowed. The email says "e.g. Merry Christmas should not be included in any spoken or written remarks."
"I'm not happy at all," said Derek Buckingham. He says it's not fair to his children and other students who celebrate the holiday. "They do enough to take Christianity out of school. Now, they're taking Christmas too?"
We spoke to several teachers who are upset about the policy. Parents say the district's attempt to be politically correct has gone too far. "I'm just appalled that they would do away with Merry Christmas. It's been Christmas all these years and now to a bunch of people that's not politically correct," said Lucy Hudson, a parent of a child in the district. "I think that's a bunch of baloney."
Superintendent Margaret Puzio contacted us and says the memo we received was not meant for the public. It was just "talking points" for faulty meetings. She says if teachers want to put up a Christmas Tree as part of a non-secular display it would be allowed.