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School Board Publishes Dos and Don'ts of Celebrating Holidays in Public Schools

School Board Publishes Dos and Don'ts of Celebrating Holidays in Public Schools

Year after year, controversy arises as public schools chose to handle celebrating the holidays to be tolerant of all religions without favoring one, specifically Christmas.

As traditions that focus on Christmas get swapped out for more inclusive ones, parents accustomed to old traditions have a lot to say on the matter.

This holiday season, the Oregon School Boards Association made public a Dos and Don'ts list that helps public schools decide how to best celebrate the holidays to avoid both excluding students and angering parents.

The school board issued guidance on many of the tricky elements to celebrating the holidays in schools, including decorations, distributions, concerts,and curriculum.

Regarding holiday decorations, for example, the board advises schools to balance religious and secular references and wants them from limiting any decorations or symbols to only one religion. Notably, it does not advise against a complete ban of symbols, a route that some schools have opted to go.

When it comes to a holiday concert, the board recommends schools promote different religions/cultures throughout with a representation of more than just one religion. Still, it says, religion should not dominate regardless of all being fairly represented. Religious ceremonies and rites, it says, is an absolute Don’t.

A good example of what the OSBA would consider an appropriate holiday concert is one coming from Sage Elementary School. Its holiday concert this week featured "songs that reference Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa, as well as holiday traditions in Mexico and Germany. The performers — fourth- and fifth-graders from the school’s drama club — will sing in six languages,” said The Bulletin

For curriculum, the board wants teachers against asking students about individual practices, but encourages them to let students volunteer their practices when educationally relevant.

A big focus of curriculum, the board says, is to focus on the different values and beliefs that people hold.

What do you think? Do you agree with OSBA’s list of Dos and Dont’s for celebrating holidays in public schools? Take our poll.

Article by Nicole Gorman ,Education World Contributor

12/16/2015

Do you agree with the Do's and Don't's List of Celebrating Holidays in Public Schools?

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