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Houston Lawmaker Files ‘Merry Christmas Bill’ To Protect Public Schools

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File photo of a nativity scene. (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

File photo of a nativity scene. (credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

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HOUSTON (CBS Houston) — A Texas state representative is trying to keep “Merry Christmas” alive in public schools.

State Rep. Dwayne Bohac, R-Houston, pre-filed legislation Thursday for the “Merry Christmas Bill” that would allow students and educators celebrate Christmas and Hanukkah on public school grounds.

“During this time every year, I hear from numerous constituents who believe the words ‘Merry Christmas’ or ‘Happy Hanukkah’ should be protected and not subject to censorship in our public schools,” Bohac said in a press release. “These parents and educators want the freedom to decorate Christmas trees, use traditional holiday greetings, display Menorahs and generally celebrate these traditional winter holidays on school grounds.”

Bohac explains he got the idea for the bill after his son told him that he decorated a “Holiday Tree” at school.

“When I asked what a holiday tree was, he told me it was the same as a Christmas tree. After inquiring with school officials as to why the term ‘Holiday Tree’ was being used, it became apparent that the school was fearful of litigation,” Bohac said. “It was that moment that inspired me to file legislation that would provide students, parents, teachers and administrators a safe harbor for openly celebrating a Federal holiday.”

Bohac, who believes his bill would receive bipartisan support, doesn’t want schools to worry about lawsuits for celebrating religious holidays.

“Our school officials and teachers have enough on their plate without having to worry about frivolous lawsuits for celebrating Christmas and Hanukkah,” Bohac said. “It’s my intent to offer protection for school officials and teachers by codifying Supreme Court precedent and providing ‘bright lines.’”

Christmas has been a federal holiday since 1870.

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