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Winter/Holiday Celebration Reminders

December 2, 2020 

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 (TDA) guidelines allow campuses to have up to six (6) exempt days. At elementary schools the winter celebration, Valentine’s celebration and end-of-year celebration are typically included in these exempt days. 

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. While volunteers will not be a part of campus celebrations this year, sincere appreciation is extended to all who volunteer their time and resources in support of Plano ISD students. 

Despite not having volunteers on campus this year, PTA/room parents at various campuses may continue to assist with planning and organizing these celebrations including coordinating supplies, themes, snacks that are store-bought and individually wrapped or other related activities. Gifts or other items for distribution shall be limited to student-to-student distribution during winter celebrations with limited contact due to COVID-19. 

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. 

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 celebration whatever they want—holiday celebration, Christmas celebration, etc. However, the district will not label the winter holiday observances as “Christmas” observances.

In planning winter celebrations, 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.