Merry Christmas Allahu Akbar
(Sultan Knish Blog)
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Ashland public schools can display a decorated pine tree if it is surrounded by symbols from other religious holidays, but they should not display a Christmas tree alone, in order to remain religiously neutral, Superintendent Juli Di Chiro told the School Board Monday.
District officials have implemented new holiday guidelines this year, after a controversy erupted at Bellview Elementary School last December over Principal Michelle Zundel’s removal of a holiday tree, because a family complained that it was a religious symbol. After dozens of parents and students protested the decision, Zundel replaced the tree, adding other winter decorations and allowing students to decorate the tree with symbols from their own religions.
“Something that was problematic was, we didn’t have any written guidelines for teachers and schools to use,” Di Chiro told the board.
A committee of elementary school parents, teachers and administrators helped create the district’s new guidelines over the past year, she said.