York County War on Christmas Update

Ken Vigil, York County Citizens for Historical Holidays, had this open letter in the Yorktown Crier/Poquoson Post (Oct. 18, 2006):

Dear York County Citizen, Please contact your York County School Board District representative and ask for a ‘No’ vote and a simple, fair fix to the change to the policy on Religious Instruction and Released Time – on October 23rd. This change in policy may make the problem worse.

The Problem. Last December several York County schools were culturally cleansed of every mention of Christmas – both traditional religious and secular content – as effectively as the Communists did in the old Soviet Union. Concerned parents spoke up at the March 20-06 School Board meeting. They asked the Board to adopt the Virginia Department of Education guidelines on holidays to educate children about the official Federal and Virginia holiday of “Christmas.” The School Superintendent made an effort to fix the problem.

Unfortunately, the new policy presented in September is worse than the problem. Students and staff can be forced to participate in activities contrary to their religious belief if there are “clear issues of compelling public interest.” This is against the Virginia Department of Education guidelines (paragraph 25).

York County assumes a new role to advance the politically correct and undefined “students’ knowledge and appreciation of religious diversity.” These loaded words poorly replaced an earlier draft that spoke instead of “the role that religion has played in the social, cultural, and historical development of civilization.” A lawyer from Newport News told the School Board to take out the word “traditional” in the phrase “traditional use of prayers, religious music, or religious objects or symbols in any secular program.” The proposed changes ruin a perfectly good policy on Religious Instruction and Released Time, and they seed controversy for the future.

The problem isn’t religion in schools. No parent asked for religion to be taught in public schools. No one asked for religious observances in school. No one asked for special treatment of Christianity. The problem is not educating the children about one official holiday – Christmas.

There is a K-3 Standard of Learning for school counselors that requires Virginia’s students to “Understand that Americans are one people of many diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds and national origins who are united as Americans by common customs and traditions.” Teaching about our heritage and traditions is educationally crucial!

A Solution. Please ask the School Board to NOT change the policy on Religious Instruction. Please ask for the simple addition, “York Schools will follow the Virginia Department of Education guidelines for all official Virginia holidays.”

I have deleted the contact info for the School Board. The School Board meeting is on October 23rd. We’ll see what they decide.

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3 responses to “York County War on Christmas Update”

  1. Sean Carter Avatar
    Sean Carter

    The School Board absolutely should not change the poilcy on Religious Instructions… Children don’t go to public schools to be taught religion… No one asks for religious observances… And wat about Christmas ??? Peep into this amazing Christmas Blog to check out some really cool stuffs and unique ideas

  2. James Atticus Bowden Avatar
    James Atticus Bowden

    The original policy on religion is a short 3 paragraph statement. It’s just fine.

    What is needed is the emphasis – could be in another section of policy or not – to remind York County administrators and teaching staff to follow the Virginia Dept of Ed guidelines on holidays (which is in their religion section). That is it. Period.

  3. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    “Children don’t go to public schools to be taught religion.”

    I totally agree.

    We’re going to have enough issues with basic curriculum, SOLs and NCLB to put up with this nonense about religion.

    Get it out of the schools – period.

    If someone wants to be religious – do it in the evening or on weekends on your own time and not impose it on those who do not want to hear it – even if they happen to have the same faith.

    If you can’t do that – then get yourself to a private school that better suits your needs.

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