A school principal directed all of the staff and teachers to remove all aspects of Christmas symbols at school that might appear religious.
The Nebraska elementary school principal sent out a memo last week to staff giving a list of symbols and decorations symbolizing religious aspects of Christmas to be removed from classrooms.
Part of the memo said the following from Principal Jennifer Sinclair of Manchester Elementary School of Elkhorn, NE –
“[W]e are not to be doing any Christmas or holiday-specific themed activities with students. Santa and Christmas items are not to be on activities or copies,” because the schools must be “inclusive.”
In the principal’s memo, she also states that she apologizes for causing “stress” at the school during the holiday season and appears to have “awoken a ‘sleeping giant’ with many” of the staff members.
In the list, the principal bans the red and green colors of Christmas, Candy Canes in the shape of a “J” as she believes it stands for Jesus, Reindeer, and more – below is the list:
- Santas or Christmas items (clip art) 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
- Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies
The Liberty Counsel, a law firm focused on religious freedom, sent a demand letter to the district’s school superintendent about the principal’s decision to censor Christmas symbols.
The school district responded to Liberty Counsel’s demand letter stating it had “investigated this matter and determined that Principal Sinclair’s memorandum did not comply with Board Policy.”
“We are pleased that Elkhorn Public Schools promptly reversed Principal Jennifer Sinclair’s unconstitutional directive, and required compliance with the Constitution,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The First Amendment does not require elimination of Christmas. Nothing prohibits public schools from teaching objectively about Christmas or other holidays with religious significance, from displaying religious and secular Christmas symbols side-by-side or singing sacred and secular Christmas songs together. The First Amendment prohibits censorship based on a religious viewpoint. This outrageous three-page memo by Principal Sinclair was not based on ignorance of the law but hatred toward Christianity and Christmas. Principal Sinclair should issue an apology to her teachers and staff,” said Staver.
Update – Sinclair was placed on administrative leave as of Thursday morning.
Below is the entire memo from the school’s principal –Elkhorn Christmas Removal List