TX Attorney General Opinion on School's Removal of Christmas Decoration

AUSTIN, Texas (KWKT/KYLE) - Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton Tuesday sent a letter to the Killeen Independent School District Board of Trustees in response to their forced removal of a Christmas decoration.

The attorney general strongly urged the school board to reverse their decision and move back into compliance with state and federal law.

In the letter, Paxton said it had come to his attention that on Wednesday, December 7 the principal of Patterson Middle School censored staff member Dedra Shannon's Christmas decoration, which was posted outside the front door of the nurse's office.

Paxton said the principal apparently "took umbrage" that the poster depicted a famous scene from the classic film "A Charlie Brown Christmas" where the character Linus summarizes the biblical meaning of the holiday.

The Killeen ISD administration reviewed the principal's decision that Friday and released a public statement supporting the action taken by the school.

In the letter, the AG noted that the U.S. Supreme Court has held repeatedly that neither " students nor teachers shed their constitutional rights  to freedom of speech at the schoohouse gate."

He said in the letter that staff members therefore may express their take on the holiday without infringing on the Constitution.

Additionally, the letter states, the Texas Education Code encourages school districts to take a more inclusive approach to religious and secular celebrations.

In regard to the action taken by the district, Attorney General Paxton said," I sincerely hope you choose to rescind the unlawful policy, apologize to Ms. Shannon, and move back into compliance with state and federal law."

 

Visit MyCenTX.com to read the entire letter giving Attorney General Paxton's opinion.


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