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N.Y. District Bans Religious Decorations

December 10, 2002

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YONKERS, N.Y. (AP) _ Public schools in this New York City suburb have banned decorations specific to one holiday, including Christmas trees and Hanukkah menorahs.

Interim Superintendent Angelo Petrone directed officials last week to remove all decorations that go beyond a generic ``Happy Holidays″ or ``Season’s Greetings.″

Holiday assemblies featuring religious songs, poems and reports on holidays will still be permitted, district spokesman Eric Schoen said.

Marla Hurban, a member of the Yonkers PTA Council, said teachers scrapped lesson plans involving holiday decorations and took down bulletin boards loaded with children’s artwork.

When word of the order began to spread, ``anybody who heard it thought it was a joke at first,″ said Amanda Pendleton, who has a daughter in fifth grade. ``Then they had to literally tear everything off the walls.″

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