Elementary school principal put on leave after banning Santa, candy cane decorations

Alex Lasker
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Elementary school principal put on leave after banning Santa, candy cane decorations

An elementary school principal was put on leave after trying to enact a

An elementary school principal was put on leave after trying to enact a controversial new policy on holiday decorations.

Jennifer Sinclair, the principal of Manchester Elementary School in Elkhorn, Nebraska, recently sent out a memo to parents stating that she comes from a place where Christmas decor was not permitted in schools, according to WOWT. She did not specify where she was from. 

In an effort to be more inclusive and culturally sensitive to all students, Sinclair said she wanted Manchester Elementary teachers to follow suit and nix all holiday garb from their classrooms. 

Sinclair's list of banned items included images of Santa, Christmas trees, reindeer toys, red and green patterned items, the playing of Christmas music and even Elf on the Shelf.

The principal's ban also gave candy canes the ax. "Historically, the shape is a 'J' for Jesus," she wrote in her memo. '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."

The strict new policy naturally angered some parents. 

"I feel like it was very deliberate and intentional about eliminating just Christmas and putting an attack on what Christmas is and what it stands for," mom Jenni Myers told WOWT.

After the school faced severe backlash over the memo, Kara Perchal, a spokeswoman for Elkhorn Public Schools District, addressed the issue, stating that Sinclair is a new principal and did not consult with administrators about policy concerning religious holiday themes.

"The memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school," Perchal wrote in a statement obtained by KETV. "The District has since clarified expectations and provided further direction to staff in alignment with District policy. This issue was limited to Manchester Elementary School and did not arise at any other schools within the District."

"As of this morning, Principal Sinclair has been placed on administrative leave," Perchal added. "Due to the fact that this is an ongoing personnel issue, the District cannot comment further."