- Plano Independent School District
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Nov. 7, 2018 - Winter Holiday Celebrations
Each year as the holidays approach, Plano ISD receives many questions regarding seasonal celebrations. To accommodate these inquiries, the district offers the following reminders regarding holiday commemorations.
The Texas Department of Agriculture allows up to six exempt days at a campus in which foods of minimal nutritional value (treats/snacks) can be provided. In Plano ISD, this includes the three elementary party dates during the school year occurring before the Winter Break, on Valentine’s Day and at the end of the school year. The first party celebrates the holiday break, which is recognized by numerous religions.
At these events, students are permitted to distribute materials that do not violate the “Limitations on Content” prohibited by policy (obscene, vulgar, inappropriate for the age, etc.).
These limitations can be found online - Plano ISD Board Policy FNAA (LOCAL).
Students may bring religious and/or secular cards or gifts to share with the class and classmates. They may wear whatever clothing they choose (color, wording, or otherwise) that complies with the district’s dress code, and they may say “Merry Christmas,” “Happy Hanukkah” or other related holiday greetings.
PTA/room parents at various campuses assist with planning and organizing these parties and are largely responsible for coordinating supplies, themes and related guidelines for the parties. Gifts, goodie bags and items for distribution shall be limited to student-to-student distribution during the winter parties. Adults who wish to distribute items and/or material must comply with Policy GKD (LOCAL).
During this time of year, the district is reminded that taking care of students and families in need has traditionally been a shared responsibility of the entire Plano ISD school community. Sincere appreciation is extended to all who volunteer time and resources in support of Plano ISD students.
Adults volunteering at campus parties shall not distribute personal gift items or information to students. School districts are prohibited from promoting or denying the free expression of religion, although they can teach about religions and observances. Schools cannot show favor regarding one religious belief over another—they must remain neutral.
Christmas is a traditionally Christian holiday celebrating the birth of Christ, although many of the traditional Christmas decorative items have a non-religious meaning. Individuals are free to call the winter holiday party whatever they want—holiday party, Christmas party, etc. However, the district will not label the winter holiday parties as “Christmas” parties.
In planning the parties, we encourage mindfulness of the different religious beliefs represented in our schools. Plano ISD wishes all students, staff and families a joyous season of harmony as we strive to create an environment where all children feel included.