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Christmas Returns to Oregon School

by Staff
December 15, 2009
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ASHLAND, Oregon, ( -- Principal Michelle Zundel of Bellview Elementary School in Ashland, Oregon, has reversed her prior decision banning Christmas trees and Santa Claus from her school. Principal Zundel removed a "holiday giving tree" from the school over Thanksgiving break and replaced it with two snowmen. She said a few parents had complained about the tree, which displayed tags suggesting gifts to donate for needy children, but Principal Zundel's actions upset dozens of parents and people from around the country who called and expressed concern with the decision.

After receiving a letter from Liberty Counsel, Principal Zundel did the right thing and reversed her decision. Responding to one concerned supporter of Liberty Counsel, Principal Zundel wrote: "I am pleased to report that as a result of our community meeting last week, a Giving Tree once again decorates the halls of Bellview Elementary School. It is a Southern Oregon Peco Pine. Fortunately, this incident never interfered with the project. The 25 families will receive gifts and food for the holidays. Ironically, the reason I removed the tree was to create a greater sense of inclusion in our school. That decision had exactly the opposite effect. As a leader, I have an ongoing responsibility to reflect on the results of my actions, consider diverse feedback and occasionally, change course."

Mathew D. Staver, Founder of Liberty Counsel and Dean of Liberty University School of Law, commented: "We applaud Principal Michelle Zundel for making the right decision to return Christmas to Bellview Elementary School. Leaders do the right thing, even if it means backing away from wrong decisions to make them right. Christmas may be celebrated in public schools. To pretend like Christmas does not exist or, worse, to censor only the religious aspects of Christmas is wrong."

Liberty Counsel provides legal information about Christmas on its website at As part of its Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign, Liberty Counsel also provides a "Naughty & Nice" list, which contains information about retail stores.

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