The Monmouth County Board of Chosen Freeholders recently passed a resolution supporting legislation to allow schools teaching about traditional winter celebrations.
The legislation was introduced by Assemblyman Ronald Dancer of the 12th district and Freeholder John Curley said it was important for the board to support the measure. “School districts should be awarded the freedom to teach about winter celebrations and decorate their schools and classrooms for the holidays,” he said. “The winter holidays are a part of our culture and promote peace, joy, generosity and love. These are excellent values to instill in our children.”
The bill, if adopted, would allow schools to have the option of teaching the history of the winter celebrations and allow faculty and staff to use traditional greetings during the celebrations. Those greetings would include Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays. Schools would also be allowed to display scenes or symbols on school property from the celebrations including a menorah, christmas tree or nativity.
Freeholder Director Thomas A. Arnone said he also supported the measure. “The bill states that more than one religion, or a secular scene, must be included in every display to ensure that the display is not partial to one religion,” he said. “The purpose of this legislation is to bring the holiday back into our schools, but in a manner that is respectful to everyone.”
The legislation would also allow schools to include songs with musical themes at winter or holiday programs as long as more than one religion is represented or one religion and the music is secular in nature.