Calif. School Ban on Religious Images, Santa Claus 'Corrected'

A ban on religious holiday decorations – including Santa Claus and Christmas trees – at a central California school has reportedly been “corrected.”

Lincoln Unified School District Superintendent Tom Uslan told ABC News10 Sacramento earlier this week that it was up to the principal at each school to determine what is appropriate.


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“Well-intentioned people may take a step that's incongruous with district expectations. That's been corrected,” he told the news station.

The Christian Post contacted the school today for clarification on if “corrected” means the ban has been reversed, but the school refused to comment, directing the publication to the superintendent’s office. A message left at the superintendent’s office was not returned by press time.

Teachers at the Claudia Landeen School, part of the Unified School District in Stockton, Calif., were sent a bulletin that said they could only decorate with “safe” images.

The bulletin reportedly read: “District office would like to remind everyone when displaying holiday decorations in and around school to be mindful no association to any religious affiliation i.e. Santa, poinsettias, Christmas trees, etc.”

All holiday decorations have been banned from classrooms, except for snowmen and snowflakes. Any symbols of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or the Muslim holiday Eid ul-Fitr are banned as well.

In the interview earlier this week with News 10, Uslan said the ban was to avoid religious discrimination, noting there was “a myriad of religious affiliations [at the school,] we don't want a pervasive theme of a class to represent one religious affiliation.”

The incident has sparked a firestorm of media coverage, and pushback from the public.

“So the rule was ok until it became a public fuss eh?,” wrote Donald Wood, of UC Berkeley, in a comment on the News 10 Facebook page.

When notified of the Stockton school’s actions, the Christian legal group Liberty Counsel said it planned to take immediate action.

“This is ridiculous,” said Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, to CP. “This is probably one of the most ridiculous, banning even Christmas trees and images of Santa … The school should not take a hostile stance on the holidays.”

Staver added, “It defies common sense … I wonder if the school even has off for Christmas and what they call that day.”

He said the whole incident was, “uncalled for and likely a constitutional violation,” but the organization was “pleased [the school] took action to correct the problem.”

“We will follow-up with the school to ensure that happened,” Staver said.

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