O'Reilly falsely claimed a Texas school district banned red and green clothing, called move "fascism"December 13, 2005 3:04 PM EST ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF
On December 9, Bill O'Reilly falsely claimed on both Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor and the nationally syndicated The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly that the Plano Independent School District (Texas) "told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors." He labeled the alleged ban "fascism." On December 12, the school district released an official statement by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Doug Otto refuting O'Reilly's contention:
"The school district does not restrict students or staff from wearing certain color clothes during holiday times or any other school days," noted Dr. Otto, who said that the school district's attorney has requested that Mr. O'Reilly retract the statement.
Last year, four families filed suit against the Plano Independent School District for allegedly prohibiting the distribution of religious materials at holiday parties and on school grounds. Among the allegations was the claim that the district excluded the use of red-and-green colored napkins at the annual school holiday party. The complaint made no mention of restrictions on red and green clothing, though the plaintiffs did allege that the school district banned red pompoms. According to the Associated Press, a day after the suit was filed, a federal judge ordered the school district "to let students distribute 'religious viewpoint gifts' at a party the following day." By then, though, the AP reported, "the district said the order was unnecessary because officials already had decided to allow students to distribute all materials -- religious or otherwise -- at the party."
According to an April 21 Dallas Morning News report, the plaintiffs rejected a settlement offer from the school district in April. The Liberty Legal Institute, which represents the families, said that the lawsuit is ongoing.
From the December 9 edition of Fox News' The O'Reilly Factor:
O'REILLY: In Plano, Texas, just north of Dallas, the school told students they couldn't wear red and green because they were Christmas colors. That's flat-out fascism. If I were a student in Plano, I'd be a walking Christmas tree after that order. Have a little thing on my head.
From the December 9 broadcast of Westwood One's nationally syndicated The Radio Factor with Bill O'Reilly:
O'REILLY: Plano, Texas, north of Dallas. Students were told they could not wear red and green because they were Christmas colors. Let me repeat that. Plano, Texas. Students can't wear clothing that have red or green colors because they were too close to Christmas colors. Can you believe this? This is fascism. In addition, it'd be grossly disrespectful.