© 2002 WorldNetDaily.com
At a time when Americans of many faiths – and even no faith –
gear up to celebrate Christmas this year, a first-grade teacher in
Sacramento Co., Calif., says she's been ordered by her principal
not to utter the word "Christmas" at school.
The 24-year education veteran, who wishes to keep her name and
the school anonymous at this time, claims she and two fellow
instructors were told that use of the word "Christmas" in the
classroom or in written materials was now prohibited.
"She was dumbfounded!" says Karen Holgate of the
Institute, a pro-family public-policy center based in
Sacramento. "This is the first time you can't use the word."
The ban apparently only affects teachers, not students. The
instructor contacted CRI, to find out if the school had the right
to prohibit its mention.
According to Holgate, the second-year principal's "out of the
blue" mandate was handed down Monday during the discussion with
three first-grade teachers. One of them didn't agree with the
policy, but agreed to go along with it. Another stated that
Christmas should not be discussed in class anyway.
But the third teacher was stunned by the pronouncement, as
she's been delivering a "Christmas around the world" program for
more than two decades. The teacher also explains to children how
Hanukkah and other holidays are celebrated in other nations.
"She's so discouraged now," says Holgate, "she doesn't know if
she wants to keep on teaching. ... People need to stand up to all
these wackos. It's nuts!"
The CRI says California standards not only allow for the Bible
and religious topics to be mentioned in the classroom, but
teachers are encouraged to discuss their social and cultural
As WorldNetDaily previously reported, other schools in the
Golden State are having students
pretend to be Muslims, simulating jihads with a dice game,
while others pupils celebrate the "Day
of the Dead" by creating altars to honor deceased loved ones
or family pets.
The San Juan Unified District,
which serves over 50,000 students in 85 schools, is where the
alleged Christmas ban is centered. Its director of communications,
Deidra Powell, tells WorldNetDaily she's heard nothing about the
principal's purported action, but doesn't think the district's
policy on religious matters would preclude the mentioning of
"You can say 'Christmas,' you can say 'Hanukkah,'" she stated.
"It is nowhere written in any policy; I don't think our board of
education or superintendent would prohibit that."
Powell says the policy is designed to protect all students and
make them feel safe in their environment, adding "not everybody is
a Christian. We're using public funds, [so] we can't endorse
The United States Justice
Foundation was requested by CRI to research the law on the
matter, and responded with an open opinion stating any ban on
using the word "Christmas" is an "abject violation" of the
California Education Code.
"Christmas and other holidays are an integral part of this
nation's heritage and cultural identity," writes litigation
counsel Richard Ackerman. "Because of this fact, references to
religious holidays, of cultural significance, have a protected
place in the classroom. Schools are absolutely allowed to observe
holidays and to reference the existence, date of, and cultural
activities associated with the holiday."
The teacher plans on showing
opinion to the principal and fellow instructors today, and
will take it to the district's superintendent, if the campus
remains a "no-Christmas zone."
Crackdowns on Christmas have made national news elsewhere this
WorldNetDaily reported Tuesday, a public-interest law firm
filed suit in federal court alleging that a "Holiday Displays"
policy for New York City public schools is discriminatory against
the Christian religion.
In its suit, the Thomas
More Law Center said the district's policy "unlawfully
discriminates against Christians" because it "prohibits the
display of [Christian] Nativity scenes" in public schools during
Christmas, while it "expressly permits and encourages" the display
of the Jewish Menorah and the Islamic Star and Crescent during
certain religious holidays and observances.
Meanwhile in Yonkers, N.Y., a superintendent who reportedly
directed school officials to limit holiday decorations to generic
season's greetings, has now clarified his order.
According to the
White Plains Journal News, interim Superintendent Angelo
Petrone had issued a memo last week stating that "decorations in
the schools should be limited to 'Happy Holidays' or 'Season's
Staff at 12 of 42 city schools tore down bulletin boards and
scrapped lesson plans tied to the holidays based on what Petrone
said was a misinterpretation of the previous memo, which also
stated that it's difficult to decorate buildings to accommodate
all the different cultures and asked officials not to promote "any
particular religious tenor."
"My expectation was that they use common sense," he said. "It
did not mean holiday decorations needed to come down. I just
wanted them to have sensitivity to the diversity in this
Editor's note: COMING THIS WEEKEND: Have a holly, "pagan"
Christmas. As Christmas comes under attack in the news this week,
WorldNetDaily takes an in-depth look at the holiday's history,
current trends, and why some Americans – even fundamentalist
Christians – abstain from its celebration while others joyfully
Ban on Christmas leads to court fight
District sued over Islam studies
'Day of the Dead' event outlives lawsuit
Christmas show in public school?
Back to BlessedCause Home
Related special offers:
The Christian Curriculum
Putting God back into the classroom