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Principals to decide if Xmas is celebrated

AAP logoAAP 17/11/2016 Darren Cartwright

Queensland's state school principals will decide how, when and if students will be allowed to celebrate Christmas in the classroom.

They will also determine what festive songs children can sing, if any, after the education department decided against issuing a directive about what Christmas celebrations are acceptable in government schools.

The department says principals are best placed to decide - a vastly different approach to Victoria's with schools there encouraged to participate in festivities such as caroling and performing nativity scenes.

"The Department believes principals are best placed to make decisions about celebrating Christmas in their schools and will support these decisions," Queensland Education Department spokesman Bevan Brennan said on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Education Department has emailed principals to tell them both religious-based Christmas carols and more commercial songs can be sung.

"Schools are encouraged to celebrate the diversity and traditions of our society by participating in a range of Christmas festivities, which can include singing carols, trimming the tree, performing the nativity scene or making decorations," the circular read, according to a report in the Herald-Sun.

Victorian Education Minister James Merlino even posted a video to his Facebook page, dismissing suggestions there were plans to silence carols as "myth" and "lies".

"Around this time last year there were a whole lot of lies about the government supposedly banning Christmas carols in schools," he says in the video.

"Well, if those people had actually visited a school, they would have heard students singing Jingle Bells and Silent Night, just like they always have, just like they will again this year.

"The number of letters we received about this was enough to put Santa's mail bag to shame. It certainly kept the elves in the Education Department busy."

Queensland Education Minister Kate Jones, who is in China, did not respond to a question asking whether there had been any previous complaints about schools withdrawing from celebrating Christmas.

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