Group Says Edmond Elementary School's Nativity Scene Is A Violation Of The First Amendment In Letter To District

Tuesday, November 12th 2019, 5:56 pm
By: Dana Hertneky

A longtime holiday tradition at an Edmond elementary school is changing after someone complained about a live nativity during the school's holiday program. 

According to Edmond Public Schools, its attorney received a letter last month, asking them to investigate Chisholm Elementary School’s annual Christmas program. For nearly three decades, a living nativity, where students played various roles including Mary and Joseph, were a part of the school’s 3rd grade holiday program.

“The problem here is the living nativity, teaching students this religious story that is right at the core of Christianity,” explained Chris Line, the attorney for the Freedom of Religion Foundation, who wrote the letter. “This is religious instruction in public school basically what’s going on.”

Line said after a community member alerted them to the situation, they sent the letter to Edmond Public Schools’ attorney, advising the nativity scene is a violation of the first amendment.

"We ask that the district investigate this situation and ensure that future school-sponsored performances will not include nativity scenes," the letter read.

Line added the foundation has sued a public school district over a similar issue in Indiana and won.

Edmond Public Schools told News 9 in a statement: "After a thorough examination of the content of this year's program, discussions with Chisholm administrators and parents, and on advice from counsel, changes were made to ensure the program's content celebrates and respects the religious practices, customs, and traditions of the season while meeting the current legal standards."

Parents wouldn't go on camera but have been very vocal on social media about the issue saying, " We cannot let one or two individuals deny these opportunities for our precious kiddos."

Also, a parent said, "This is heartbreaking."

Line said that a Christmas program and Christmas songs are typically okay.