An elementary school principal in Nebraska was placed on leave Thursday morning after sending a memo to teachers instructing them to avoid decorating their classrooms with Christmas-themed embellishments, according to an Elkhorn Public Schools spokesperson.
Local affiliate Fox 42 reports that the principal at Manchester Elementary School, Jennifer Sinclair, sent a memo out earlier in the week warning teachers against using decorations that may offend students who do not celebrate Christmas.
Unacceptable decorations, according to the principal, included those that feature Santa, Christmas trees, candy canes, reindeer and more, the outlet reports. Teachers were instead encouraged to focus on winter themes, such as sledding, scarves and Olaf, the snowman from Frozen.
On Wednesday, school district officials sent a statement to Fox 42 that read: “The memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school.”
The district’s policy states, “Religious symbols, such as crosses, creches or menorahs may be used as teaching aids in the classroom provided that the symbols are displayed as an example of the cultural and/or religious heritage of the holiday and are temporary in nature. … (Christmas trees, Santa Claus and Easter eggs and bunnies are considered to be secular, seasonal symbols and may be displayed as teaching aids provided they do not disrupt the instructional program for students.)”
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