Gov. Rick Perry today signed House Bill 308, which allows public school students and staff to use traditional holiday greetings and display religious scenes and symbols on school property. The governor was joined by bill author Rep. Dwayne Bohac and sponsor Sen. Robert Nichols for the signing ceremony.
"I'm proud we are standing up for religious freedom in our state," Gov. Perry said. "Freedom of religion doesn't mean freedom from religion, and people of faith often feel like they can't express that faith publicly. HB 308 works to address that by ensuring that people of all faiths are free to use traditional holiday greetings, and display religious scenes and symbols, even on school property. It ensures freedom of expression where, for many students, teachers and administrators, it's most important."
HB 308 ensures that adherence to one particular religion is not in practice, but rather allows the freedom of expression toward religious holidays to be a part of our schools. By allowing teachers to display various holiday symbols associated with certain religions, they are able to educate students about the history and roots of different religions.
"I am proud to have authored the Merry Christmas Bill which allows students, parents, teachers and administrators the freedom to acknowledge traditional winter holidays like Christmas and Hanukkah in Texas public schools without fear of litigation or punishment," Rep. Bohac said. "When I picked up my 6-year-old, first grader from school and found out school districts and teachers felt pressured by political correctness to change the way they refer to "Christmas trees' and Santa and holiday music, I had enough. HB 308 protects schools and teachers from ridiculous litigation and restores common sense by placing Supreme Court precedent into Texas Law."
"I have heard from many constituents who dislike that it is becoming less culturally acceptable to openly celebrate these holidays in the ways past generations have," Sen. Nichols said. "To me, this is a matter of helping our teachers and administrators feel safe talking about these holidays at school without fear of legal action being taken against them, and of letting our children know that it's okay to say "Merry Christmas.'"