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School district to bus drivers: Remove any and all Christmas decorations from vehicles

A southeastern Pennsylvania school district is backtracking after word got out it had warned its bus drivers against “displaying” or wearing anything Christmas-related.

A December 15 Wallingford-Swarthmore School District memo from “Patti” (presumably Transportation Supervisor Patti Diaferio) to “all Drivers and Aides” notes Superintendent Wagner Marseille had been receiving parental complaints about Christmas paraphernalia.

“If you have decorated your bus with anything specific to the Christmas Holiday or any other decorations relating to a specific religion, please remove them immediately,” the memo, which went viral on social media, reads.

“In addition, employees are instructed not to wear clothing related to Christmas or any other religious holiday.”

The memo also says all district offices and buses “are to refrain from playing Christmas music” or music affiliated with any religion.

But a late Friday evening report from FOX 29 notes Wallingford-Swarthmore officials claimed the memo was a “misunderstanding” and that holiday displays “are not banned.”

They added, however, all employees should be mindful to create an “inclusive environment.”


Interestingly, Libs of TikTok reports that back in June the district issued a “Happy Pride Month” message on its Instagram page: “June is Pride Month! […] the purpose of the commemorative month is to recognize the impact that LGBTQ+ individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.”

As noted by the First Amendment Museum, non-religious Christmas decorations, clothing etc. such as Santa Claus are entirely permissible in the public sphere. Religious symbols are allowed too, but within certain parameters. For instance, if Wallingford-Swarthmore’s bus drivers hung pictures of nativity scenes along side those featuring menorahs, they’d legally be in the clear.

Superintendent Marseille previously ran the Cheltenham School District where he formally reprimanded several teachers for circulating a survey regarding concerns about school violence.

MORE: School district can’t pick and choose which religious speech it allows

MORE: New Hampshire superintendent schooled on the constitutionality of ‘Christmas’

IMAGES: Gateway Pundit, Libs of TikTok/X

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Associate Editor
Dave has been writing about education, politics, and entertainment for over 20 years, including a stint at the popular media bias site Newsbusters. He is a retired educator with over 25 years of service and is a member of the National Association of Scholars. Dave holds undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of Delaware.