Holidays and Religious Expression in Public Schools: Avoid the Pitfalls This Season

Event ID:73631

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Date:11/7/19, 1 PM Eastern
Duration: 90 minutes including question and answer session.
Presenter: Erin D. Gilsbach, Attorney at Law, Steckel and Stopp
Price: $299.00 webinar or On-Demand, $399.00 webinar and On-Demand. Each option may be viewed by an unlimited number of attendees in one room. On-Demand includes full audio presentation, question and answer session, and presentation slides.
Who Should Attend? K-12 administrators, district legal counsel, principals, superintendents, teachers, support staff
Best For: K-12


From Christmas Carols to Menorahs and Nativity Scenes, days off for religious holy days to recognition of holidays in the classroom, the holiday season in public schools, while festive, can be rife with First Amendment challenges. In this session, we will review relevant caselaw and provide an overview for schools on how to prevent liability while navigating the holiday season.

Please join attorney Erin Gilsbach as she addresses such issues as the performance of religious holiday songs and stories by school-sponsored groups, First Amendment rights of students to create and display religious-themed artwork in public school forums, the rights of students to express religious beliefs and wear religious holiday-themed apparel and icons, the rights of employees to discuss or display evidence of their religious beliefs within the public school setting, and much more. She will provide a review of well-established caselaw on the issue as well as an update regarding current national litigation trends on the topic.


Just a sampling of what this webinar will cover:

  • Are schools permitted to use religion-specific terms like “Christmas,” “Hanukkah,” etc.
  • What are the rights of students with regards to religious holiday expression within the public school setting?
  • What are the rights of public school employees to display, discuss, or otherwise indicate their personal religious holiday preferences/beliefs?
  • What are the rights and limitations of schools to display student religious-themed artwork?
  • What are the rights and limitations of schools to permit the performance of religious-themed musical performances?
  • Are schools permitted to have specific holiday-themed displays if they represent a variety of religious viewpoints?



Your conference leader for “Holidays and Religious Expression in Public Schools: Avoid the Pitfalls This Season” is Erin Gilsbach. Ms. Gilsbach is a practicing school law attorney with the PA-based law firm of Steckel and Stopp. She is an experienced speaker at the state and national levels on matters regarding school law and a frequent author on education law topics. She currently serves as the president of the Pennsylvania School Boards Association (PSBA) Solicitor’s Association and is a member of the board of directors of the National School Boards Association (NSBA) Council of School Attorneys (COSA). Ms. Gilsbach provides a wide variety of training programs, as well as legal consulting services, to school districts, charter schools, non-public schools, and education-related organizations. She specializes in school policy and procedure legal defensibility audits as well as professional development in areas of special education, school technology, nursing and school health services, truancy prevention, child abuse prevention and mandated reporting, educator evaluation and discipline, and many other trending school law topics. Prior to attending law school, she taught high school English. Prior to entering private practice, she served for over two years at the PA Dept. of Education’s Office of Chief Counsel. Ms. Gilsbach was voted by her peers as a SuperLawyers “Rising Star Attorney” for 5 consecutive years and is an active member of and frequent presenter and author for NSBA, COSA, the national Education Law Association (ELA), PSBA, the LRP Institute, the National Business Institute (NBI), the Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI), and a number of other legal and educational organizations. She is currently writing a book for LRP publications on school health services that is scheduled for publication in the fall of 2019. QUALITY COMMITMENT

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