Outside probe sought in Wausau Christmas song furor - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Outside probe sought in Wausau Christmas song furor


WAUSAU (WAOW) - A Wausau School Board member is recommending that an outside investigation be launched into the recent firestorm about limiting religious-themed Christmas songs that a high school choir could sing and ending elementary school holiday concerts.

The board will discuss the idea at its Monday meeting as a way to "get a firm understanding of what took place," Board Vice President Lance Trollop said Friday.

"I think a lot of the public has a lot of questions yet," Trollop said.

Trollop said school board member Jane Rusch asked that the idea of an outside investigation, perhaps using services from the Wisconsin Association of School Boards, be placed on Monday's agenda.

Rusch did not immediately return a telephone message Friday.

The issue of religious Christmas songs sung by students in a public school erupted after the director of the Wausau West Master Singers said he was disbanding the group after he was told to limit the number of religious-themed songs during performances this holiday season.

The school district said a review of holiday music was prompted by the threat of a lawsuit.

After hundreds of people attended a meeting mostly to support using traditional and sacred songs in the concerts, the school board decided to go back to the previous way of reviewing concert songs and the Master Singers began practicing again.

Director Phil Buch said the singers would perform a "balanced repertoire" of secular and traditional Christmas songs this holiday season.

The school district said the decision to scrap elementary holiday concerts was because of testing pressures. The school board said music teachers and principals at each school will now again decide whether to host the concerts.

Trollop said Friday that learning exactly what happened in the Christmas song furor must be determined as part of a quarterly review of Superintendent Kathleen Williams.

"The controversy part of it, I hope, is over. The issue itself is not over," he said.  

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