Friday, December 05, 2003
By David Lee Miller
NEW YORK — If a Christmas tree can stand in a school's halls during the holidays, then a model of baby Jesus and his manger should also be welcomed, contends a Queens, N.Y., mother who is going to court to prove her point.
Andrea Skoros sued the New York City public school system after being told her kids' Nativity scene could not be a part of the holiday display although a Hanukkah menorah and the star and crescent representing Islam could be exhibited.
A federal judge in Brooklyn Thursday held a procedural conference on the suit and Skoros hopes the ban will soon be overturned.
School officials say that all displays must be secular in nature and chose a Christmas tree to symbolize the holiday but Skoros said this a double standard.
"I felt that it is only fair if they are going to display the menorah, which is a religious symbol, that they also display the Nativity scene instead of just snowmen and stockings and Christmas trees."
While school officials wouldn't discuss the lawsuit, legal briefs filed said it has "drawn an appropriate line between secular holiday decorations and those that are purely religious."
The New York Civil Liberties Union agreed: "The Constitution prohibits government from promoting religion, any religion, and that means that public schools can be in the business of promoting religion," Donna Lieberman of the NYCLU said.