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Press ReleaseEducation
ADL Offers Schools Guidance for Negotiating the "December Dilemma"

New York, NY, November 22, 2000 ... To help public schools negotiate the "December Dilemma," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has developed a set of guidelines for appropriate holiday practices to be distributed among parents, educators and students.

"The December holidays present public schools with the perennial challenge of acknowledging the diverse religious beliefs of their students while avoiding divisiveness and misunderstanding," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "We developed these guidelines in order to spell out in laymanís terms what is, and what is not, appropriate in the schools at this time of year based on Supreme Court rulings and the First Amendment."

The December Dilemma: Guidelines for Public Schools During the December Holidays, addresses common questions and concerns arising during the holiday season. The pamphlet will be widely distributed to schools across the country and is accessible on this site.

ADLís The December Dilemma examines four areas where public schools may be confronted with church-state issues this holiday season, each with its own section:

  • Religion as an Educational Lesson: Explains the difference between teaching about religion and practicing religion in the classroom.
  • Holiday Assemblies and Other Activities: Addresses appropriate public performances or presentations of music, literature and art that have a religious theme.
  • Religious Music: Offers specific guidelines for the performance of religious music, masses and hymns.
  • Decorating: Explains what symbols and displays are appropriate in the classrooms and on school property. For instance, undeniably religious symbols, such as a nativity scene or crucifix, are not appropriate for public school display while scenes with snowflakes, candles and Santa Claus are.

Read The December Dilemma: Guidelines for Public Schools During the December Holidays on-line.

EDITORS NOTE: To speak with an ADL expert on church-state issues, contact the Media Relations Department at (212) 885-7749.

The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.

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