Video: Protesters sing in response to school district's policy on religious references

PAINTSVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Protesters in Johnson County were making their presence known by way of song Monday morning.

The sounds of “O Beautiful Star of Bethlehem” could be heard as people showed up with signs before the school day started. They say they were protesting the school board’s decision to remove religious references from school activities and school sponsored events, including the district’s Christmas programs.

In a statement, Johnson County Schools Superintendent Thomas Salyer said:

As superintendent of Johnson County Schools, I recognize the significance of Christmas and the traditions and beliefs associated with this holiday. Over the past few days, there have been several rumors indicating that there would be no Christmas plays this year at our elementary schools. I want to clarify that all programs will go on as scheduled. In accordance with federal laws, our programs will follow appropriate regulations. The U.S. Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit are very clear that public school staff may not endorse any religion when acting in their official capacities and during school activities. However, our district is fully committed to promote the spirit of giving and concern for our fellow citizens that help define the Christmas holiday. With core values such as service, integrity, leadership, and commitment, our staff and students will continue to proudly represent our district as recently demonstrated by our many student successes.

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