The Alabama Legislature is getting close to enacting a law to allow public schools to educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allow student and staff to exchange seasonal greetings.
The bill by Republican Sen. Gerald Allen of Tuscaloosa won approval in the Senate last month and cleared the House Education Policy Committee on Wednesday. It now goes to the House for a final vote.
Like other states passing similar bills Alabama is reportedly supporting the idea to protect public schools from frivolous lawsuits filed by out-of-state entities, usually the Freedom from Religion Foundation. In recent years the FFRF has successfully shut down school celebrations of Christmas by sending letters threatening to take districts to court over the mere mention of Christmas.
Also like other states, resistance is found along party lines. Republicans generally favor the legislation while Democrats generally see passage of such bills as unnecessary. This is the case in Alabama as well.
Democratic Rep. Marcel Black of Tuscumbia voted against the bill and said teachers and students can already do what the bill says. Allen says there is confusion among school officials, and he’s trying to clarify what’s permissible.