Mobile Menu

FFRF silences hallway caroling at New York school (Feb. 13, 2012)

Southside High School in Elmira, N.Y., will no longer play religious holiday music during the month of December.

The Freedom From Religion Foundation wrote to Southside Superintendent Joseph Hochreiter on Dec. 19, 2011, warning him of the serious Establishment Clause violation occurring at Southside High School. During the month of December, the high school would play intrusive religious holiday music non-stop in the halls. This practice took place everyday for the entire month. This overtly sectarian program was justified to "lift morale, especially for those underprivileged kids who don't get much of a celebration at home." Even the school's morning news program included carols.

Songs included, "Oh Holy Night, O Come Emmanuel and From a Distance." Even with classroom doors closed, the unlawful Christian music could still be heard from the hallway, and FFRF received complaints from those at the school.

FFRF requested that the practice of "blaring Christmas music in the halls of a public school" not recur in the future.

Hochreiter responded to FFRF's request on Feb. 13, confirming that religious songs would no longer be broadcast over the loudspeaker in December.