Milwaukee School Board Rejects Curb on Xmas Observances in Jewish Areas

The school board of two heavily Jewish suburban areas of Milwaukee was reported today to have backed the continued observance of Christmas in the schools, rejecting the stand of its own school superintendent, who had urged a ban on such observances.

The school board of the Fox Point and Bayside schools voted unanimously to continue such observances, but added a clause to the resolution aimed at “the removal of as many areas of potential controversy and tension as possible.”

The board acted on the basis of a report by a special committee named last January after School Superintendent Peter Stormonth submitted several proposals to de-emphasize Christmas in school programs. He said then that many Jewish parents had objected to phases of the Christmas programs, including what was termed excessive amounts of school time for the programs.

The board rejected the complaint of lost school time, declaring there was no appreciable loss of such time. The board did approve a committee proposal to keep Yule trees out of classrooms, other than kindergarten, and to display them in general school building areas.

The board also agreed that trees and other room decorations for Christmas should be limited to materials provided by the school, and that traditional music of all faiths should be used on a group basis, with no separation of groups for such musical activity on a religious basis. Additionally, the board ruled that group solicitation for teachers’ gifts and group exchange of gifts in connection with Christmas should be ended.

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