firstamendmentcenter.org: Religious liberty in public schools - - Cases & Resources
Religious holidays


Allegheny County v. ACLU
Engel v. Vitale
Estate of Thornton v. Caldor
Lynch v. Donnelly

Religious holidays

Tips for planning religious holidays in public schools

Before planning a religious holiday activity in a public school, ask the following questions:

  1. Is this activity designed in any way to either promote or inhibit religion?
  2. How does this activity serve the academic goals of the course, or the educational mission of the school?
  3. Will any student or parent be made to feel like an outsider, not a full member of the community, by this activity?
  4. If in December: Do we plan activities to teach about religious holidays at various times of the year or only in December?
  5. Are we prepared to teach about the religious meaning of this holiday in a way that enriches students’ understanding of history and cultures?

Resources for classroom teachers

Elementary-school teachers may wish to use books of children’s literature containing stories about the religious holidays and traditions of the world’s faiths.

Calendars of religious and ethnic holidays can be obtained from the following organizations:

National Conference for Community and Justice
71 5th Ave.
New York, NY 10003
212/206-0006

Educational Extension Systems
P.O. Box 259
Clarks Summit, PA 18411
800/447-8561