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Religious music ban upsets parents

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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BORDENTOWN TWP., N.J. - -
By Bruce Gordon, Reporter(FOX 29)-

In many school districts around the country, the December musical performances used to be called "Christmas Concerts."

In Burlington County, New Jersey, a new change to an old formula has lots of parents upset.

The Bordentown Regional School District celebrated Halloween today with kids in costumes parading at both its elementary schools, but it's a decision impacting a couple of other holidays, that has some parents horrified.

Like to hear a beautiful religious carol during the Christmas season? Or, for that matter, a Hanukah tune or Kwanzaa selection?

You won't find it at this year's winter concerts at either of Bordentown Regional Elementary Schools.

"We're not happy about it. We're all celebrating holidays together, you know, whether you celebrate Kwanzaa or Hanukah or Christmas, it's our holiday. It's been around forever. It's our tradition." Joe Sergio, a parent said.

A message on the district homepage from Superintendent Constance Bauer tells parents that some musical selections at elementary winter concerts led to a legal review, and a decision that "religious music should not be part of the elementary programs."

Most parents we talked to were aware of the message and nearly all had an opinion. Some supported the religious music ban.

Others told us they were fine with even more religious selections given the time of year.

One parent told us the folks who had questioned the selections had been revealed and were the subject of nasty comments from other moms and dads.

The district's online message suggests the ban impacts only the two elementary schools.

We wanted a further clearer explanation, but Bruce's repeated calls to superintendent Bauer's office were not returned.

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