Rep. Morgan: Teachers Should Be Able to Say Merry Christmas in RI

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

 

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Rhode Island House Minority Leader Patricia Morgan will introduce legislation during the 2017 season giving the legal freedom to Rhode Island teachers to say “Merry Christmas” to students during school time. 

“Christmas is a part of the very fabric of this country. The traditions that are passed down from generation to generation enrich and inform our culture. They form a basis for our ‘melting pot’ and are another piece that binds our country together. No school teacher or staff member should risk censure for teaching about those holiday traditions.” said Morgan.

She intends to submit her bill in January, along with co-sponsors (see below). 

The Legislation 

Morgan’s bill relates to a school district’s recognition of traditional winter celebrations, and will allow school districts across Rhode Island to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations, and allow students and district staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations, including ‘Merry Christmas’, ‘Happy Hanukkah’ and ‘happy holidays’.  

“The goal here is to give everyone the freedom they deserve to say ‘Merry Christmas’ but not to encourage adherence to any particular religious belief,” said Morgan.  

Representative Morgan’s said the law is modeled after a similar state law in Texas. 

The Texas Law

According to the House Republican Office, the Merry Christmas Law passed the Texas Legislature and was signed into law in 2013. The law guarantees the freedom of the state’s children, teachers, parents, and school administrators to acknowledge Christmas on school grounds without fear of censorship, prosecution or litigation.  

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Representative Patricia Morgan

Recently, a Texas school principal forced a staffer to take Charlie Brown Christmas decorations off a school door because it included a quote from Linus which had the word “Christ” in it.

The principal reportedly said it was “an issue of separation of church and state.” The Texas Attorney General called the action “an attack on religious liberty and a violation of the First Amendment and state law.”  Due to the new law, the teacher was free from prosecution.

Additional Sponsors of the Legislation 

Additional sponsors include Representative Anthony Giarrusso (R-District 30 East Greenwich, West Greenwich), Representative Sherry Roberts (R-District 29 Coventry, West Greenwich), Representative Justin Price (R-District 39 Exeter, Hopkinton, Richmond), and Representative Robert A. Nardolillo III. (R-District 28 Coventry). 

 

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