A Nebraska elementary school principal was placed on administrative leave this week after she sent out an unauthorized memo banning a slew of Christmas-related items, including candy canes, which she claimed are shaped like a “J” for Jesus Christ.
Manchester Elementary principal Jennifer Sinclair sent a memo to parents and staff banning traditional Christmas decor including Santa Claus, Christmas trees, red and green items and candy canes because, “Historically,” she wrote, “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.”
Ms. Sinclair also included a list of secular holiday items that she deemed inclusive enough for a school setting, including polar bears, penguins, yetis, gingerbread people and snowmen.
Free speech advocacy group Liberty Counsel, which posted the memo online, sent a letter to Elkhorn Public Schools demanding that the ban be reversed, claiming it “violates the U.S. Constitution by showing hostility toward Christianity.”
District spokesperson Kara Perchal said Thursday that Ms. Sinclair was put on administrative leave and the ban had been reversed, adding that the memo did not “reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school,” The Kansas City Star reported.
An attorney for the school district also responded to Liberty Counsel saying he “will work with staff to correct any erroneous communications and clarify any misunderstandings,” The Star reported.
Ms. Sinclair later apologized for sending out incorrect information.
“I wanted to reach out and make sure our families understand what occurred, and what has been done to correct the issue,” she told parents, a local NBC affiliate reported. “I understand that the information I initially provided was incorrect and I sincerely apologize for any confusion or concern this has caused and the negative attention this issue brings to the District and Manchester.”
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