Michigan School Rejects ‘Christmas Break’ Change

FFRF wrote a letter to the Petoskey School District in Michigan urging it to reconsider a proposal to change its “Winter Break” session to “Christmas Break.” FFRF Staff Attorney Rebecca Kratz, in her letter to the district, wrote: “Changing the wording to Christmas break so that Petoskey school children know that ‘we are a Christian nation’ violates the most basic and fundamental principles of Establishment Clause jurisprudence. The proposal originated from an inflammatory e-mail to the district from school board treasurer, Jack Waldvogel. Either make the change voluntarily, Waldvogel said, “or I will make a motion to change it at the NEXT Board meeting, and raise such a stink, and bring out every redneck Christian Conservative north of Clare, to compel the District to do so.” The e-mail also said: “Our children need to know we are a Christian nation and taking all reference to a higher being out of our educational vocabulary is wrong.” The Foundation’s letter to the district noted that the board’s action illegally advances religion over nonreligion and Christianity over all other faiths: “The previous wording reflected an enlightened respect and viewpoint for the community’s diverse population and the District should restore its original wording on the school calendar.” After the Foundation’s urging, the school board voted to not move forward with the change.

Freedom From Religion Foundation