A New York school district is bringing Christmas back to its schools after reversing an earlier decision to ban Christmas programs from school events.
In its latest move, the East Syracuse-Minoa School District decided to incorporate both Christian and Jewish songs into a holiday musical and permit teachers to welcome Santa into the classroom.
Prior to the reversal, even Santa Claus was allegedly not allowed on campus because he originated from the story of St. Nicholas.
"We are pleased that the spirit of Christmas has returned to the school district,\" commented Mathew D. Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, which is defending Christmas celebrations for the seventh year.
\"It is not only constitutional but also reasonable to acknowledge Christmas in the public schools."
Earlier this month, parents in the district received a letter notifying them that "programs that involve singular traditions" can only take place in schools if the celebrations are voluntary, occur outside of school hours and are not sponsored by the school district. The letter expressed the district's desire to honor "diverse cultural and religious traditions."
In response to the decision, parents criticized the district and requested that Christmas return to the schools.
"Public schools are not religion-free zones," contends Liberty Counsel, which argues that if schools mix the secular and the religious, they would not violate the U.S. Constitution.
"A choral performance may include religious songs,\" the legal group adds, noting that prior to the New York district\'s reversal, songs from different religious traditions were not allowed.
\"Indeed, the majority of the songs may be religious so long as the performance also includes secular holiday songs."
The latest reversal is being touted as another win for those defending Christmas.
Liberty Counsel, which launched its seventh annual "Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign" last month, has been offering free legal assistance to anyone who faces criticism for celebrating Christmas.
Staver says the campaign has so far been "phenomenally successful."
"We are winning the war against Christmas, but the war is far from over," he stated.
"Each Christmas season stands on its own. While the war will no doubt continue, I think we have made good progress," Staver added.