Over 30,000 Mississippians get stories like this delivered to their inboxes for free.

Sign up for The Today, our daily newsletter, and continue to read this story.

Mississippi Rep. Tom Miles, D-Forest Credit: Gil Ford Photography

Saying “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah” in a Mississippi public school could be protected by state law by the next holiday season.

Rep. Tom Miles, D-Forest, recently announced in a Facebook post that he has pre-filed what he calls the “Merry Christmas” law to be considered during the 2017 Legislative Session, which begins Jan. 3.

Miles said his bill mimics a Texas law passed in 2013 that allows Texas children, teachers, parents and school administrators to acknowledge Christmas on school grounds, he said.

The Texas law also allows schools to educate students on the history of traditional winter celebrations and display scenes or symbols associated with traditional winter celebrations, including a Christmas tree or nativity scene.

“It’s not choosing one over the other,” Miles told Mississippi Today on Tuesday. “It gives school districts the opportunity where if they can, that they can have a Christmas program and other things as well.”

Miles acknowledged he is unaware of any recent events in Mississippi where saying “Merry Christmas” has gotten anyone in trouble on school grounds. He says the bill was encouraged by his constituents and school administrators. However, Christian sermons and prayers in school assemblies have been successfully challenged in court.

“Whether it’s Christmas or Hanukkah, our children, teachers, parents and school administrators should have the freedom to acknowledge these traditions in our public schools without fear of censorship, punishment, persecution or litigation,” Miles says in his Facebook post. “The Merry Christmas Bill guarantees that freedom.”


We want to hear from you!

By listening more intently and understanding the people who make up Mississippi’s communities, our reporters put a human face on how policy affects everyday Mississippians. We’re listening closely to our readers to help us continue to align our work with the needs and priorities of people from all across Mississippi. Please take a few minutes to tell us what’s on your mind by clicking the button below.


Republish our articles for free, online or in print, under a Creative Commons license.

2 replies on “‘Merry Christmas’ bill aims to protect school celebrations”

  1. No Kwaanza? No celebration of the solstice? You fat white men just want to kill the Enlightenment. And you’ve done it with Dump. You should be deprived of electricity and everything that came from the Industrial Revolution.

  2. Very glad we’ve got lawmakers to focus on real issues such as this now that we’ve got those pesky public school funding issues, healthcare crises, and infrastructure problems licked.

    How about a bill for legislators to stop cutting their own hair before taking official portraits? These Dylann Roof salad bowl cuts are very unbecoming for the office these men hold.

Comments are closed.