A band director at a South Carolina high school had given students a choice of musical selections to play at a coming “Winter Concert,” but after they had made several selections and had started rehearsing them, the music suddenly was withdrawn, according to the Alliance Defending Freedom.
The numbers played at York Preparatory Academy, a public charter school in Rock Hill, S.C., contained the melodies of “Joy to the World” and “O Come All Ye Faithful,” two traditional carols enjoyed in the Christmas season in churches, schools, communities and governments for generations.
“Schools shouldn’t have to think twice about whether they can allow their bands to play the music to time-honored Christmas carols like these,” said Rory Gray, litigation staff counsel for ADF. “School districts can and should allow religious Christmas carols to be part of their school productions.”
ADF sent a letter to the school explaining the court precedents that allow the carols to be played at public schools.
The letter explains “every federal court to examine the issue has determined that including religious Christmas carols in school music programs fully complies with the First Amendment.”
ADF pointed out that courts “have recognized for many years that Christmas carols ‘have achieved a cultural significant that justifies their being [performed] … in public schools.’”
The legal organization has sent out 13,000 letters to school districts across the United States explaining the issue.
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