Monday, December 20, 2004

N.J. School Reverses 'Silent Night' Ban

With Carl Limbacher and Staff
For the story behind the story...

Tuesday, Dec. 14, 2004 10:51 a.m. EST

N.J. School Reverses 'Silent Night' Ban

A New Jersey talk radio host has succeeded in forcing the Egg Harbor Township board of education to reverse its ban on the Christmas classic "Silent Night," which had been dropped from the school district's holiday program based a single parental complaint.

Last night's 7-0 vote by the panel means that "Silent Night" can now be included in this week's Holiday Singalong at the E.H. Slaybaugh Elementary School, where the controversy first erupted.

The complaining parent, an attorney who has not been publicly identified, asked that the holiday carol be dropped from the program, even though songs about other religious holidays, such as "The Dreidel Song" and "Kwanzaa's Here," were included.
The controversy erupted last Wednesday after WOND Atlantic City radio host Jeff Whitaker received a tip about the Christmas music ban.

"I had on the air the lawyer for the school district, Will Donio, who advised them to do away with 'Silent Night,'" Whitaker told NewsMax.

The Atlantic City talker said he was deluged with calls as the controversy percolated through the week, including requests for more information from local pastors.

As a result, "four of five pastors wrote to the local school board," Whitaker said, prompting district officials to rethink the ban.

After Egg Harbor educrats voted to reverse the ruling in a special session on Monday, Whitaker declared victory, posting a message to his Web site crediting his audience with the success.

"The credit in this turn of events goes to the listeners of our radio show, the outrage and stand taken by many of Egg Harbor Township parents and the prayers of people all across the region," he said.

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