Not-so-silent Night in Wausau; Parents Call for Supt. to be Fired/Apology to Music Teacher

ImageIt was a not-so-silent night at the special meeting held by the Wausau School Board and administration last night to address the recent decision to limit “religious” music performed at annual Christmas concerts.  The Wausau East High School auditorium was packed with concerned parents, taxpayers, students, and alum who voiced their strong opposition to the new policy; only one supporter spoke last night.  The meeting lasted nearly 4-1/2 hours.

Over and over those who were upset by the religious music policy called for the dismissal of Supt. Kathleen Williams, who apparently instituted the policy without board knowledge or approval, and an apology to Mr. Phil Buch, the beloved director of the elite choir, Master Singers.

ImageWFA president Julaine Appling spoke at the meeting, “Schools are to be a reflection of the community…. It is incumbent upon administration, it is incumbent upon school boards to reflect in their decisions, and in the process by which arrive at their decisions, community values.”  She continued, “As school board members and as administration, it is very important that you stay in touch with, and reflect in that decision-making process, what this community values.”  “Some portion of this problem is the age-old issue of communication.  I believe much of this situation could have been addressed had the process been openly communicated all along the way. What you’re seeing tonight in this auditorium are parents and citizens who say ‘we woke up one morning and found out that what we thought was happening, isn’t what’s happening.'”  Addressing the school board directly, Appling stated, “You don’t get crowds like this if the issue isn’t important to the people.”

The Wausau School Board passed a resolution last night to leave holiday concerts up to the music teachers at individual schools, reversing the controversial policy that limited “religious” music.  They also passed a resolution that returns the music selection for concerts policy to what it had been prior to the controversial change.  An additional resolution was also passed to form a committee to study this issue and make recommendations to the Board for policy changes and refinements.

One school board member asked that consideration of a performance review of the superintendent be added to the board’s regular meeting which is this coming Monday.

The Master Singers will resume rehearsals on Monday.


17 comments on “Not-so-silent Night in Wausau; Parents Call for Supt. to be Fired/Apology to Music Teacher

  1. Connie Mullins says:

    Thank you, people of Wausau!!! If we did this all across the USA, many of our problems with big government would be resolved.

  2. […] school board meeting held: Not-so-silent Night in Wausau; Parents Call for Supt. to be Fired/Apology to Music Teacher, [Oct 11 by Wisconsin Family Action] […]

  3. Good for the families who dared to take the stand! If the music “offends” some of you, don’t go to the performance.

  4. Darlene Flatoff says:

    Congratulatons to the people of Wausau. If there are people who are offended, get a grip and grow up.

  5. […] Wausau, WI school board meeting held: Not-so-silent Night in Wausau; Parents Call for Supt. to be Fired/Apology to Music Teacher, [Oct 11 by Wisconsin Family Action] […]

  6. Hillary says:

    As long as all religions of the student population are represented at the appropriate times, this should not be an issue. When only one religious group is represented among a diverse group, this is discriminatory.

  7. Sounds like the superintendent has too much time on her hands. Maybe next she will be mandating which plays the football coach can and cannot call. Anybody with much training in school law will tell you the singing of tradition Christmas music by a high school choir does not violate the Constitution. The superintendent is trying to solve a problem that isn’t there.

  8. evechicago says:

    The Superintendent should not have taken this stand without any notification, it is true, but I feel for the non-Christian students: although many feel Christmas is a religious holiday and hold it close to their heart, for many Americans it is celebrated in a mostly secular way, and often by members of other faiths nowadays. And the Christmas concert is usually the largest of the year, so if I were a student in that choir who was not Christian, I would likely feel relief to have a mixture of music.

  9. Mishka says:

    While I agree this situation was probably handled badly, although the superintendent’s policy was not stated, there is another side to this argument. Christians may want to be bathed in their sacred music, but non- Christians may not. Christians can enjoy their music in church services and school concerts, which are supposed to be about music education, can serve all parties equally well with secular music. There are lots of holiday appropriate secular songs available that will please everyone without establishing any hint of a dominant or state sponsored religion (check your US constitution). As a church attending high school choir director, I have no trouble with this non-offensive policy. Taking Christ and all other religions out of the Winter Choir Concert is not an assault on the Christian Holiday that happens to fall at approximately the same time, but it does serve all students equally and fairly.

    • Mitch Hoyt says:

      Friend please check the Constitution yourself. It never promised freedom from religion it advocates freedom of religion and states that Government shall make no law prohibiting the free exercise of it. Pretty simple and clearly put, what is so hard for you to understand it. Read it yourself and if you have difficulty knowing what the words mean look them up in a dictionary.

  10. silver236 says:

    Taking the religious aspect out of it and focusing just on educational value. For hundreds of years the far majority of vocal music was sponsored by the church. Bach for instance wrote no secular music in his entire career. If a music teacher wants to teach his students about Bach (which most music teachers should), they HAVE to use religious music. This issue has gone all the way to the supreme court and the court ruled in the music teachers favor. They CAN use religious music to teach as long as it is not what they do exclusively. This choral director had the law on their side and the superintendent was wrong to stop them.

    • evechicago says:

      Absolutely re Bach and many others and the beautiful music each created. My comment was just to point out that a Christmas concert is also a holiday, end-of-season concert and I think a mixture is appropriate. I think most people should be able to agree on the legitimacy of that for all involved.

    • Linda Ed says:

      Silver I agree. It was back in the mid 1960’s when I was in high school and we had to take a fine arts class and be able to differentiate Bach from Beethoven to Mozart, Chopin,,,etc etc ..Some of the students didn’t like the class but am sure they appreciate it much more today as this heavy metal music which isn’t even music but a bunch of yelling,,,and screaming,,,and nasty words,,rap and all the other gross music of today..So KUDOS to Wausau parents,,…

  11. Tammy says:

    For all you who are sympathising with non christians update Whether you want to admit it or not CHRISTmas is a christian religious holiday it was started to celebrate the birth of Christ if you don’t agree with it don’t celebrate it ….I am so tired of christians being made to stop their religious practices because it offends someone but its ok for Muslims and other religions to push their beliefs on us ….since prayer was taking out of schools it has become more violent ….thankfully i live in a state that has online schooling so my child doesn’t have to be subjected to this violence and can believe in her faith……I stand up and applaud this town for standing up for their beliefs

    • evechicago says:

      The current version of Christmas may be viewed by most as existing to celebrate the birth of Jesus, but it by no means “started” that way. In the 300s Christians took the Roman holiday of Saturnalia (a week long period of lawlessness celebrated between December 17-25 that included an innocent sacrifice) and converted many pagans by telling them they could continue to celebrate Saturnalia if they became Christians. However, since there was nothing terribly Christian about Saturnalia, the Christian leaders decided that the last day, December 25th would be celebrated as Jesus’s birthday (since no one knew the actual date anyway). Remember, the Puritans BANNED the celebration of Christmas due to its pagan origins!

  12. […] school board meeting held:Not-so-silent Night in Wausau;Parents Call for Supt. to be Fired/Apology to Music Teacher,[Oct 11 by Wisconsin Family Action] […]

  13. Zath's Dad says:

    I -hope- that the ACLU or ‘separation’ /legal teams don’t take up and de-fund the school systems by legal actions, as has happened for -years-..

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