December: Celebrations and Dilemmas, 2002

December 11, 2002

Source: The New York Times

On December 11, 2002 The New York Times reported that "aided by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a Queens family sued the city on Monday in United States District Court in Brooklyn, charging that its policy on holiday displays in schools discriminates against Roman Catholics. The policy permits what it calls secular holiday decorations, including 'Christmas trees, menorahs and the star and crescent,' according to a memorandum that the schools chancellor's general counsel distributed a year ago. If one symbol is displayed, so should those of other 'beliefs or customs,' it said. But William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, said the menorah and star and crescent were religious symbols, while the Christmas tree was not. The suit accuses the Department of Education of promoting Judaism and Islam, of coercing students to accept those religions and of sending a disapproving message about Christianity. It also names Joel I. Klein, the schools chancellor, and Sonya Lupion, the principal of Public School 165, the Edith K. Bergtraum School. It seeks an injunction against the policy."