Is your child's school now on Christmas break or winter vacation? Did they have a Christmas Party or a Holiday celebration? Does it matter to you what it's called? It matters to one Texas lawmaker. "I think it's political correctness gone too far". State Representative Dwayne Bohac has proposed what he calls "The Merry Christmas Bill". He says too many schools now have an unwritten rule to replace the word Christmas with holiday. So he decided to do something about it.
State Representative Bohac says when his first grader told him they decorated their school holiday tree with holiday ornaments he immediately went to the school office and asked. "Does anybody here know what holiday we're celebrating? I feel relatively certain it's not Easter. It's not July 4th. I said I think the holiday is Christmas. We don't need to be scared to say it but he says so many in schools are now afraid to say Christmas. So he is proposing, "We call it the Merry Christmas Bill. It's House Bill 308," says Bohac.
Representative Bohac points out Christmas has been a federal holiday since 1870. He says the U.S. Supreme Court has even addressed the issue ruling schools can celebrate Christmas. "(Schools) can put out Christmas trees. You can put out menorahs. You can do all these things but because people are fearful of litigation they don't want to venture into this and I think our children are losing at the end of the day," say Bohac.
"It's American tradition. You can't take away tradition," says Houstonian James Nguyen
"It's part of our country, it has been since I was little and my parents were little," says another woman in Downtown Houston.
We called several school districts to find out their policy. HISD, for instance, says it's left up to principals to decide on the wording. Fort Bend ISD says it doesn't have a preference on what teachers call activities surrounding the holiday as long as it's inclusive and good judgement.
"We should be able to say Christmas. Why would we not celebrate Christmas? Come on, it's Christmas," says Houstonian Jenni Barone. Not everyone is praising the proposed bill. The head of the Houston Teacher's Federation says there are more serious issues to fight for. To that Bohac answers "Is it the most important issue? Absolutely not. There are 6,000 bills that will be filed in the legislature this year. This is just one of the 6,000".
Representative Bohac says the bill would give clear guidelines to teachers and schools so they won't be afraid to celebrate traditional winter holidays such as Christmas and Hanukkah. The proposed bill will be considered this upcoming legislative session in January 2013.