Letter: Ala. school district should resurrect Easter

Ban on ‘Easter’ threatens students’ First Amendment freedoms
Thursday, March 28, 2013

Attorney sound bites:  Jeremy Tedesco Matt Sharp

MADISON, Ala. — Alliance Defending Freedom sent a letter to an Alabama school district Wednesday after it banned the word “Easter” at one of its elementary schools in the “interests of religious diversity.”

“Schools should encourage, not censor the free exchange of ideas,” said Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “As our letter explains, the school district is not honoring the religious beliefs of children and parents who celebrate Easter by outlawing the word ‘Easter.’ That’s censorship, not honor or respect.”

The Madison City School District claims that the ban on “Easter” was put into effect in the “interests of religious diversity” and as a way to “respect and honor everybody’s differences.” In a media interview, Heritage Elementary School’s principal stated that she will not allow “the bunny” to be called the “Easter bunny” for that reason.

The Alliance Defending Freedom letter explains that “no court has ever ruled that the Constitution demands school officials to censor Easter songs, eliminate all references to Easter, or silence those who celebrate Easter.” Moreover, no court has ever held that “celebrating Easter and Christmas as religious holidays requires recognition of all other religious holidays.”

The letter also explains that the Supreme Court has “acknowledged with approval that government has long recognized holidays with religious significance such as Easter. For example, Presidents have long held an Easter Egg Roll and over the last several years have instituted an Easter Prayer Breakfast.”

“The Constitution protects the First Amendment freedoms of all students, regardless of their religious practices,” added Legal Counsel Matt Sharp. “Political correctness can’t dictate rules for acceptable speech in schools--especially when it comes to faith practices. The school district’s ban on Easter jeopardizes the First Amendment freedoms of students and teachers, and we strongly urge the district to overturn it.”
  • Pronunciation guide: Tedesco (Tuh-DESS’-ko)
Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith.
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