An elementary school principal from Omaha, Nebraska has been placed on administrative leave after directing teachers to refrain from celebrating Christmas in the classroom.
In a memo circulated to educators at Manchester Elementary School late last month, Principal Jennifer Sinclair said that she came “from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools.”
Sinclair ― who signed the memo as “The (Unintentional) Grinch who stole Christmas (from Manchester)” ― also included a detailed list of “acceptable” and “not acceptable” practices for classrooms.
Sinclair deemed candy canes unacceptable because she felt that “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.”
Liberty Counsel, a right-wing evangelical organization, sent a letter to the school district’s superintendent after obtaining a copy of the memo.
Arguing that Sinclair’s policy “violates the U.S. Constitution by showing hostility toward Christianity,” the organization urged the “reversal of the comprehensive ban on all Christmas holiday symbols.”
In a statement obtained by local NBC affiliate WOWT, the Elkhorn Public Schools District said that the issue had been “promptly addressed” and that Sinclair’s memo did not reflect the district’s policy “regarding holiday symbols in the school.”
Sinclair also sent an email to parents last Wednesday in which she said she had “mistakenly sent out an internal staff memo detailing what can and cannot be done in a public school surrounding the holiday season.”
“I wanted to reach out and make sure our families understand what occurred, and what has been done to correct the issue,” she said.
Speaking to a spokeswoman for the school district, CNN reports Sinclair had been placed on administrative leave as of last Thursday.
“Principal Sinclair was in her first year as an employee at Elkhorn Public Schools,” she said. “Due to the fact that this is an ongoing personnel issue, the district cannot comment further.”