School holiday display bill clears SC House panel - FOX Carolina 21

School holiday display bill clears SC House panel

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COLUMBIA, SC (AP) -

A bill meant to protect South Carolina's public school districts from lawsuits over winter holiday displays is heading to the House floor.

The Education Committee advanced Tuesday a bill allowing schools to display scenes and symbols associated with winter holidays.

Under the bill, a religious icon such as a nativity scene must be either paired with a secular symbol or grouped with at least one other religion's symbol. Supporters say a Christmas tree qualifies as a secular.

The bill also specifies that staff and students can greet each other with "Merry Christmas" and "Happy Hanukah."

Rep. Bill Sandifer says his bill does not violate the separation of church and state. American Civil Liberties Union state director Victoria Middleton says she believes it does and calls the bill unnecessary.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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