New York, NY, November 30, 2011 … To help public schools and other government institutions navigate the complex issues raised by the December holiday season - often referred to as the "December Dilemma" - the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has provided information on appropriate holiday displays and practices to public school educators and other officials.
In letters sent to school districts and government officials nationwide, the League provided information on how to respect religious diversity while observing the December Holidays, as well as complying with constitutional requirements.
"December poses a dilemma for public institutions that wish to observe the holiday season festivities, but which also must be mindful of the separation of government and religion mandated by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution," said Deborah Lauter, ADL Civil Rights Director. "In order to maintain an inclusive and welcoming environment for their entire community, schools and governments have an obligation to be prepared about how to appropriately celebrate the December holidays from both a legal and diversity perspective"
Through ADL's 30 Regional Offices and in materials available on its Web site, the League advises public schools on how to suitably acknowledge the December season by emphasizing the need to celebrate diversity by being inclusive and respecting different points of view concerning religion.
Some of the matters highlighted and explained in detail by ADL include:
In a letter sent to local governments ADL offers guidance about the placement of suitable holiday symbols on public property such as courthouses and state capital buildings. The letters included a "Quick Guide to Religious Displays," which helps public officials to understand displays that are constitutionally appropriate during the holiday season.
A detailed explanation of these December holiday issues is available in ADL's online guide, "The December Dilemma – December Holiday Guidelines for Public Schools".
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.