, Muskogee, OK

February 11, 2014

Committee approves Merry Christmas Bill

Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — It was Christmas in February for members of an Oklahoma House committee Monday.

The House Common Education Committee approved by a 15-1 vote legislation saying that public school students, teachers and other staff members can greet each other with such traditional phrases as “merry Christmas,” “happy Hanukkah” and “happy holidays.” The committee passed the measure in spite of federal court rulings and U.S. Department of Education guidelines that say public schools already have the right to erect holiday displays with religious themes under certain circumstances and that students and teachers can greet each other with “Merry Christmas.”

The so-called Merry Christmas Bill also says that Oklahoma school districts can teach students about the history of the traditional celebrations and put up displays on school property associated with the winter celebrations — including a menorah, a nativity scene or a Christmas tree.