An Oklahoma House panel has signed off on proposed legislation allowing for acknowledging Christmas in Oklahoma public schools.
The House Common Education Committee Monday approved legislation authorizing public school students and school employees to greet each other with phrases used during traditional winter celebrations such as merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah and happy holidays.
The so-called Merry Christmas Bill authorizes Oklahoma school districts to teach students about the history of the traditional celebrations. It also allows a school district erect to displays on school property associated with the winter celebrations, including a menorah or a Christmas image like a nativity scene or Christmas tree, under certain circumstances.
Announced last fall, the Oklahoma bill is patterned after a Texas measure known as the Merry Christmas Bill that was signed into law late last year. Several other neighboring states are considering similar measures as schools nationwide continue to battle the threat of lawsuits by church-vs-state separatists.
The measure’s author, Republican Rep. Ken Walker, of Tulsa, says the measure will protect Oklahoma school districts from lawsuits over winter displays.