Does a ban on the performance of celebratory religious music at a school sponsored event violate the First Amendment? Michael Stratechuk, the father of two children in a  New Jersey public school thinks so. In 2009, he challenged the ban in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals.  This past Monday, he filed for certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to review the case.

The Thomas More Law Center, arguing on behalf of Mr. Stratechuk, claimed that this policy violated the establishment clause, as well as the right to free speech. But the Third Circuit sided with the school district, contending that school officials can decide what songs are appropriate to create an “inclusive environment”.

This case presents several questions about the First Amendment. It is also a good reason to consider supporting greater school choice. Many parents are unhappy about this ban on Christmas music. But as the American Bar Association noted, the policy was initiated because of a parent’s objections to her child participating in a performance of religious music. Whose preferences is the school district supposed to honor? Everyone is going to have to live with one policy. It will be amenable to some and offensive to others.

I don’t think that there is a right answer under these circumstances. People hold diverse views on everything from religion to the environment. And they (rightly) want their children to be educated in a way that they believe is sound. A wide variety of views is something to celebrate, but it means that many school policies can’t be anything but controversial. Should parents have to undo what their children are taught each day? Should they have to pay taxes for a curriculum that they disagree with?

Wouldn’t it be better and easier for parents to be able to choose what schools their children attend? That way, there wouldn’t be a need for (long, drawn out, expensive, tiresome, possibly ineffective) lawsuits just so that their children aren’t exposed to potentially offensive curricula.