On the first day of its new term, the U.S. Supreme Court declined without comment last week to hear the appeal of a parent who challenged a New Jersey school district’s restrictions on religious music at holiday performances.
The South Orange-Maplewood district’s policy encourages secular holiday selections such as “Winter Wonderland” and “Frosty the Snowman,” but religious songs, such as “Joy to the World,” are not allowed in winter concerts, an administrator testified in the case.
Michael Stratechuk, a father of two students in the district, contended the policy is hostile to religion and infringes his children’s right to learn about religious music.
A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, held in 2009 that the district’s policy did not violate the First Amendment.
In his appeal, Mr. Stratechuk argued that the case would be a good vehicle for the justices to revisit their Establishment Clause jurisprudence.
A version of this article appeared in the October 13, 2010 edition of Education Week as U.S. Justices Decline Case on Religious Music at School