School in Boone County not permitted to host nativity scene

Courtesy of WSAZ
Courtesy of WSAZ(WDBJ)
Published: Dec. 21, 2018 at 5:19 AM EST
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Another Christmas-time clash played out in Boone County as a community wanting to celebrate their cherished holiday came up against separation of church and state.

Parents say kids at Ramage Elementary had been preparing to perform a live nativity scene as part of the school's Christmas program Thursday.

They say after a complaint was made by one parent, school officials ruled the nativity couldn't be held on school property.

"The kids had worked on this and practiced it, and it really discouraged them, kind of hurt their feelings," parent Jeremy Ball said. "Some of them did cry a little bit."

Thursday at noon, several parents signed their kids out of school, and the nativity scene was held just up the road. Afterward the kids were signed back in to finish out the school day, Ball said.

"It was a good outcome," Ball said. "There were more than 100 people here."

Parents were still disappointed the kids didn't get to perform the nativity inside the school in front of all their classmates.

"In my opinion, it's really just a sad situation," parent Kelly Arkola said. "These kids have been practicing for this. It really should've taken place (inside the school). Because of some people who don't know the true meaning of Christmas, it didn't happen."

"We were wanting to do a nativity scene inside the school, not to hurt or bother or force anything one anyone," Ball said. "It's just that time of year."

The Department of Education responded to WSAZ's request for comment with an email saying this is a matter of application of federal constitutional law.

They cited the U.S. Court of Appeals' decision in March on Freedom from Religion Foundation versus Concord Community Schools.