390 Use of Sacred Music in Public Schools
Policy Number: 390
It is the position of the Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau School District that the inclusion of significant sacred and secular music is imperative to facilitate a total music experience.
The Wisconsin Music Educators Association supports the study of religious music as a vital and appropriate part of the total music experience in both performing and listening. The omission of sacred music from the repertoire or study of music would present an incorrect and incomplete concept of the comprehensive nature of the art form. The Music Educators National Conference (MENC) believes that religious music is an important component of the musical repertoire of all cultures. The study of such music, chosen on the basis of its musical quality and focusing on its musical characteristics, is important and appropriate for the development of broad musical literacy.
We support the position of state and national music educators' organizations. We teach music for its educational value, musically and historically, rather than for the purpose of teaching religion or promoting religious holidays.
The Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau Music curriculum is aligned with the State of Wisconsin Content Standards for Music Education. These content standards align with our district’s program goals. The issue of the use of Sacred Music in Public Schools is supported in our responsibility to teach Content Standard Nine.
During the planning phase of instruction or programming, the following points are considered by each teacher in determining if a program is acceptable:
- The music is selected on the basis of its musical and educational value rather than its religious context.
- The traditions of different people are shared and respected.
- The excessive use of sacred music, religious symbols or scenery, and performance in devotional settings is avoided.
- The role of sacred music is a neutral one, neither promoting nor inhibiting religious views.
- Local and school policies regarding religious holidays are observed.
- There is understanding of the various religious beliefs and sensitivities represented by the school children and parents.