SHUTESBURY SCHOOL COMMITTEE
CEREMONIES AND OBSERVANCES
Part of the responsibility of Shutesbury Elementary School
is to teach mutual understanding and respect for all individuals and all
In order to help staff members abide by the spirit and
letter of the law, and to avoid compromising any student's religious or
conscientious beliefs or freedoms, the following guidelines have been
The observance of religious holidays is not the
responsibility of Shutesbury Elementary School.
While it is recognized that many activities are initiated
with the approach of major holidays in order to capitalize on the readiness and
interest that is generated at these times, it should be understood that such
occasions frequently have religious underpinnings. Care should be taken
to relate only to secular aspects of these holidays.
Music programs given at times close to religious holidays
should not use religious aspect of these holidays as the underlying motive or
theme. Although religious music is appropriate in the schools to the
extent that it is sung or presented for musical rather than religious content,
its use should not violate the secular nature of the school. Pageants,
plays, recitals, and other literary or dramatic activities should not be used
to convey religious messages. While the holidays represent a valid source of
ideas for meaningful school art experiences, teachers should avoid assigning or
encouraging art work that promotes religious aspects of such holidays.
If, however, individual students choose to use a religious personage, event, or
symbol as the vehicle for an artistic expression, they should be allowed to
take this action.
The purpose and objectives of any religious holiday
activities shall be related to the historical and cultural effect of that day or
days and such activities will remain secular.
The above statements should not be interpreted to preclude
the factual and objective teaching about religions, religious holidays,
and religious differences. Such instruction will be permitted in the school
since insights in this area can enhance the mutual understanding needed in a
LEGAL REF.: 603 CMR 26:05
Shutesbury Policy Committee: 06/23/16
Shutesbury School Committee First Reading: 09/15/16
Second Reading, First Vote: 10/20/16
Final Vote: 11/17/16