Christmas trees, menorahs, nativity scenes. All of these are symbols of the season, and Oklahoma lawmakers want to make sure it stays that way in public schools.
“Oklahoma, we declare it is okay in the school houses to say ‘Merry Christmas’ and `Happy Hanukkah,’” Rep. Ken Walker said in a press conference Monday morning.
Representative Walker is one of many political leaders filing the so called ‘Christmas Bill.’
The bill would allow schools to celebrate Christmas without fear of a lawsuit.
[I want] for teachers to have the freedom to discuss the historic and cultural meanings behind these symbols with our children without promoting religion.’
House bill 2613 mirrors a Texas law that states a school district may educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations.
“This has been discussed in the courts and the courts have said this is okay to celebrate these different holidays and this is just reaffirming it at the local level because there has been some confusion,” Rep. Joe Dorman said.
So what brings this bill up now? State Representative Donnie Condit has been in education for more than 30 years and sees a drastic change in how Christmas is celebrated in schools.
“When I first came in until about 20 years ago, there was no problem, and then I started sensing it probably about 10 to 15 years ago when people felt uncomfortable…,” he said.