Nebraska elementary school principal on leave for Christmas ban

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OMAHA, Neb. (KAKE) -

The principal of a Nebraska Elementary is on administrative leave after she sent a directive to staff to ban religious Christmas decorations in classrooms. 

A spokesperson for Elkhorn Public Schools told KETV that Jennifer Sinclair is a new principal Manchester Elementary and did not consult with administrators about school policy concerning the handling of religious holiday themes.

The organization Liberty Counsel got wind of the principal's memo and sent a demand letter to the superintendent asking the district to lift the Christmas ban.

The list of "not acceptable" practices include:

  • Santas or Christmas items (clipart) on worksheets
  • Christmas trees in classrooms
  • Elf on the Shelf - that’s Christmas-related
  • Singing Christmas Carols
  • Playing Christmas music
  • Sending a Scholastic book that is a Christmas book - that’s Christmas-related
  • Making a Christmas ornament as a gift - This assumes that the family has a Christmas tree which assumes they celebrate Christmas. I challenge the thought of, ‘Well they can just hang it somewhere else.’
  • Candy Cane - that’s Christmas-related. Historically, the shape is a ‘J’ for Jesus. The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection. This would also include different colored candy canes.
  • Red/Green items - traditional Christmas colors
  • Reindeer
  • Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies” (emphasis added)

The principal’s “acceptable” list included:

  • Gifts to students
  • Snowmen, snow women, snow people
  • Snowflakes
  • Gingerbread people
  • Holidays Around the World
  • Sledding
  • Hot chocolate
  • Polar Bears
  • Penguins
  • Scarves, boots, earmuffs, and hats
  • “Yetis” and “Olaf” (the snowman from the movie Frozen.)

The spokesperson, Kara Perchal said Sinclair's memo "did not reflect district policy" and that the district is receiving a "high volume" of phone calls from people with concerns.

Principal Sinclair was placed on leave Thursday morning.