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Principal Bans Candy Canes From School Because Of Religious Significance

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Over the last couple of days, we've heard about radio stations banning "inappropriate" Christmas songs,  like "Baby It's Cold Outside," but it looks like lyrics aren't the only thing some people are finding issues with this holiday season.

Staff at Manchester Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska were recently given a directive which informed them about the school's new policy regarding Christmas.

The notice, which was sent out by the school's new principal Jessica Sinclair, included a list of "not acceptable" items and practices, including singing Christmas carols, Christmas trees, ornaments, and using items with red, white, or green colors, such as candy canes.

Sinclair explained that "red is for the blood of Christ, and white is the symbol of his resurrection." As for the candy canes, they're on the naughty list because their "J" shape stands for Jesus.

So what prompted this sudden ban on Christmas?

Sinclair, who finalized this decision without consulting with the rest of the administration, wanted the school to be a place that is "inclusive and culturally sensitive" to all of its students.

She claimed that it made her "uncomfortable" to have to "get this specific," but she went ahead with it anyway for the sake of everyone else's comfort.

However, Sinclair's Grinch-like approach to Christmas does permit certain non-holiday items, including snowflakes, polar bears, penguins, hot chocolate, and sleds.

Since making this drastic call, Sinclair and the school have been under scrutiny from the community, parents, and religious organizations.

Liberty Counsel, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, has since asked the superintendent of Elkhorn Public Schools to lift the ban.

Kara Perchal, spokesperson for the Elkhorn Public Schools District released a statement explaining that the "memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school."

She added, "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."

Principal Sinclair has since been placed on administrative leave, but due to the fact that it is an ongoing issue affecting personnel, the district will not make any further comments.

A "high volume" of calls have been received by the district from concerned parents and members of the community. Although no threats or hate calls have occurred, an officer will be stationed at the school "throughout the coming days" as " an act of extreme precaution."

You can check out the full list of "acceptable" and "non-acceptable" items and activities below:

Not allowed:

  • 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
  • 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 Canes
  • Red/Green items - traditional Christmas colors
  • Reindeer
  • Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies.

Allowed:

  • 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.)

What do you think of the principal's decision?

Awa has been writing for Shared for 3 years. She is a serial snacker who unapologetically loves celebrity gossip. Drop her a line at awa@shared.com.