Tags: christmas | trees | texas | school

Christmas Trees Banned at Texas School, Called 'Draconian'

Image: Christmas Trees Banned at Texas School, Called 'Draconian'

Wednesday, 18 Dec 2013 11:40 AM

By Alexandra Ward

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Christmas trees have been the defining symbol of the holiday season since the 1500s, but there seems to be a growing trend of schools across the country banning the decorative staples and many people aren't too happy about it.

Earlier this month, Nichols Elementary School in Frisco, Texas, announced it would not allow Christmas trees or the colors red and green at its annual winter party in a measure one local legislator called "unnecessary, inappropriate, and quite frankly draconian in nature," according to Fox News.

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The reported Christmas tree ban immediately sparked debate, led by U.S. Rep. Pat Fallon, who recently authored a bill that permits students and school staff to discuss and celebrate all holidays. Texas Gov. Rick Perry signed the "Merry Christmas Bill" into law in June.

"Texas law clearly permits Christmas-themed celebrations, events, and displays," Fallon said in an email to the school district. "The district may also display scenes or symbols with traditional winter holidays (e.g. nativity scenes, Christmas trees, menorahs, etc.)"

Despite the bill and Fallon's admonition, Nichols' principal and PTA decided to keep its "no Christmas tree" rule in place.

"[The principal] said they didn't want to offend any families and since each family donates money they feel this is the best policy," Fallon told Fox News' Todd Starnes.

The school, however, claims it never set limits on what colors students are allowed to wear.

"The school was unaware of this and it was not an official PTA correspondence either," the district told MyFoxDFW.com in an email. "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."

There's similar controversy raging on in Connecticut this week after a teacher at Fairfield Ludlowe High School was accused of telling her students they couldn’t decorate their classroom door with images of Christmas trees or Santa Claus.

"It is the policy of the Board of Education that no religious belief or non-belief will be promoted by the district or its employees and none will be disparaged," the school's headmaster told Fox.

"Something like a wreath or candy canes or holly have no direct religious meaning so they would be allowed under the district policy," he said. "But others may say that a Christmas tree would not exist unless you were talking about Christmas and they make the leap to the religious observance."

Parents were outraged by the rule.

"[The teacher] said no reference to Christmas at all can be on the decorations on the door," one parent told Fox's Starnes. "My son was in disbelief and asked, 'why can’t we decorate for Christmas?' This is political correctness run amuck."

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