‘Silent Night’ in school Christmas play could lead to lawsuit

TUSCUMBIA, AL (WAFF) - A Tuscumbia elementary school plans on keeping "Silent Night" a part of their holiday program.

A Washington DC group has threatened legal action if students sing the song.

The non-profit said the song violates federal law and the separation of church and state.

Florence City Schools have had a front row seat to two of these separation of church and state issues.

Earlier this year, Brooks High School came under fire for public prayer at football games.

Now there's the controversial decision to sing "Silent Night" at G.W. Trenholm Primary School in Tuscumbia.

Florence City Schools Superintendent Dr. Janet Womack said every program her district does is checked by the district's attorney.

She said the district is always keeping up to date with court decisions.

She also said watching what's going on in these other districts is a reminder of how important communication needs to be between school employees, administration, and the central office.

"It's always being willing to ask for guidance instead of stepping into a gray area asking for guidance first so that we don't create a landmine for ourselves that would take and deter away the attention from what our main focus is," she said.

WAFF 48 News spoke to the group in Washington DC, and they told us what they plan to do next.

They said this is the only public school they know of where a religious message is being relayed in an elementary school play. And they said that's why they've targeted this school.

They've already sent a letter to the Tuscumbia City School Board.

That letter says the school needs to edit the play and get rid of the song "Silent Night."

The district told us Wednesday they don't plan on making any edits to the program.

Americans United for the Separation of Church and State said that means they'll take legal action.

"I hope that cooler heads prevail and people understand that this is a significant constitutional issue and they don't go along with the idea of continuing the plans to sing this hymn as part of what should be a secular public school event," said Barry Lynn, executive director of the nonprofit group.

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