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Wausau School Board to discuss Christmas music controversy Thursday

Musical note stems (Photo by: JZCL/Creative Commons).
Musical note stems (Photo by: JZCL/Creative Commons).

WAUSAU, WI (WTAQ) - The Wausau School Board will meet in a closed session Thursday evening to decide how it would react to a possible lawsuit over limiting Christmas music by school choral groups. 

After that, the Board will meet in public to talk about an issue that's gotten national attention.

It started last week, when the Wausau school administration issued new policies telling choral groups to keep religious music at a minimum during their holiday concerts -- or wait until after the holidays to perform. 

It threw School Board members off-guard -- and it caused the Wausau West High School Master Singers to temporarily disband. They were scheduled to sing Christmas carols at 15 events around the Wausau area close to the holidays. 

Superintendent Kathleen Williams told WAOW-TV it might be a problem, because those performances could be interpreted as endorsing a religion. 

In a more general statement last night, Williams said it was not true that groups were told to have five non-religious songs for every religious song in a school program. She said the district's music committee never set an exact ratio. 

Williams told the TV station the policy makes sure that students don't feel coerced into performing songs which make them uncomfortable. 

She also said the district wants to stay within the law by not endorsing any religion. 

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