Holiday sign controversy at Killeen middle school

A staffer at a Killeen middle school is told to take down part of a holiday sign posted on a door because it had the word "Christ" in it. The sign was a quote from the movie "A Charlie Brown Christmas". The staffer hired a lawyer and now she may be headed to court

There is no holiday cheer for Dedra Shannon as the Charles E. Patterson Middle School staffer found out the ruling on the sign she decided to put up.

Shannon says, "I am deeply saddened that Killeen ISD School Board voted to ban my Charlie Brown Christmas display."

The sign on Shannon's door at Patterson is a quote from "A Charlie Brown Christmas" and the principal told her to take it down because it had the word "Christ" in it.

Jonathan Saenz with Texas Values is Shannon's lawyer and says, "Legally the Killeen ISD board is on an island of their own and legally in a very dangerous place and we are going to continue to look at all of our legal options and explore them as this matter as we take these issues very serious." 

"Nothing in federal or state law requires the Charlie Brown Christmas poster be torn down," Saenz adds.

Saenz sent a letter to the Killeen school district outlining the law.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has weighed in too. "Everyone in this country has the right to exercise, free exercise their religious beliefs."

There's also the Merry Christmas Law in Texas which was passed in 2013 when Paxton was a state representative and Paxton says it "was designed to prevent this very thing from happening which is we don't want people discriminated against really celebrating Christmas. So that was the idea of that legislation."

The Merry Christmas Law and the First Amendment were at the core of the school board's discussion on December 13. But despite Christmas decorations dotting the district the board decided the administration should clarify the policy which leaves Shannon without her holiday wish.

"I believe it's a discrimination not to allow Christians like myself to put up a display that is simply an expression of the story of Christmas," Shannon says.

Killeen ISD School Board President Terry Delano was the only one who voted against the motion to ban the sign.

"I didn't feel like the poster violated the Constitution or based on what I read from the attorney general or publications that it did not violate the Constitution and in fact may have violated the Merry Christmas Law," Delano says. 

"I believe that we have come to a place in our nation where we are taking Christ out of everything and in this case the very word Christmas and it concerns me that someday we won't even be able to say that," Delano adds.

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