Nebraska elementary school principal placed on leave after banning candy canes, Christmas decorations

OMAHA, Neb. — A Nebraska elementary school principal has been placed on leave after instructing teachers not to decorate their classrooms for the upcoming Christmas holiday.

According to FOX 42, the principal, Jennifer Sinclair, sent a memo to the entire Manchester Elementary School staff earlier this week stating that only certain items were acceptable to display in classrooms.

This list reportedly included sledding, scarves, yetis and Olaf, a snowman character from the Disney movie Frozen.

However, the memo also banned certain items from being displayed in the classrooms or used in assignments, FOX 42 reported.  That list included Santa Claus, Christmas trees, candy canes, reindeer and additional items.

According to KETV, Sinclair wrote in her memo that candy canes were banned because “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.”  She also reportedly specified that the ban would also include all colors of candy canes.

According to FOX News, Sinclair evoked the ban as a way to not offend those who don’t celebrate the holiday.

“I feel uncomfortable that I have to get this specific, but for everyone’s comfort, I will,” she reportedly wrote.

School officials responded Wednesday, according to FOX 42, saying “the memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school.”

The official policy, available on the school district’s website here,  reads:

“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.”

A district spokesperson told FOX 42 that Sinclair had been placed on administrative leave, effective Thursday.