By Freeholder Director Tom Arnone
At the December 10, 2013 meeting of The Board of Chosen Freeholders, a resolution was passed regarding Assembly Bill 4481 which provides school districts with the option of educating students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and allows students, faculty and other staff to offer traditional greetings regarding the celebrations. Some examples of the traditional greetings would be Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and Happy Holidays.
Furthermore, Assembly Bill 4481 also provides the option to allow a school district to display on school property scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a Menorah or a Christmas image such as a nativity scene or a Christmas tree; however the scene must display a scene or symbol of more than one religion, or one religion and at least one secular scene or symbol.
In addition to holiday displays, the legislation provides that a school district may include musical selections with religious themes at winter or holiday programs if the winter or holiday program includes musical selections of more than one religion or one religion and music secular in nature.
I felt that this piece of legislation was something that was very important to bring back into our schools because it encourages the support of understanding the importance of individuals and families keeping with tradition. Not only was I a strong supporter of this piece of legislation but I received the full support of The Board in particular my fellow board member, Freeholder John Curley.
Assembly Bill 4481 which allows school districts to teach about traditional winter celebrations, display holiday symbols on school property, and include musical selections with religious themes is legislation that I will continue to support in hopes of seeing those old family values and traditions restored to what they once were.