It’s no surprise Christianity is under attack. But apparently, all things Christmas are under attack at Manchester Elementary! In a bizarre move, the Nebraska school principal banned Christmas decorations of all kinds, including candy canes, Santa, Christmas trees, and much more.
A memo that went out to the staff members of Manchester Elementary School in Nebraska in early December has landed the school’s principal in a whole heap of trouble.
"I come from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools, as over the years in my educational career, this has evolved into the expectation for all educators," Jennifer Sinclair, the principal of Manchester Elementary School, wrote in a letter to faculty.
And while Jennifer jokingly referred to herself as “The (Unintentional) Grinch who stole Christmas (from Manchester)”, no one found the memo amusing.
“I feel like it was very deliberate and intentional about eliminating just Christmas and putting an attack on what Christmas is and what it stands for," parent Jenni Myers said.
Community Fights Back Against Christmas Ban
It’s certainly not the first time the issue of religious freedom has come up in the school system. And Liberty Counsel, a legal group specializing in religious liberty and First Amendment issues, quickly became involved.
But this particular memo provoked such an uproar because it bans anything at all related to Christmas! The Nebraska school principal banned Christmas expressions in any form, from religious symbols to secular ones, like Santa, too.
Liberty Counsel wrote the superintendent of Elkhorn Public Schools, urging him to overturn the policy.
"The ban violates the U.S. Constitution by showing hostility toward Christianity," the letter read. "The ban also violates Elkhorn Public Schools board policy; the academic freedom rights of teachers; and it violates the First Amendment right of students to receive information."
Nebraska School Principal Banned Christmas Items Including:
- Santas or Christmas items (clipart) on worksheets.
- Christmas trees in classrooms.
- Elf on the Shelf.
- Christmas carols.
- Christmas music.
- Scholastic books that are Christmas related.
- Making a Christmas ornament as a gift.
- Candy canes.
- Red/green items.
- Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies.
The ban included candy canes 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," the principal wrote. "This would also include different colored candy canes."
Among the items that are allowed: polar bears, penguins and the Frozen movie character Olaf.
Liberty Counsel said it did not want the principal removed from her position. It only wanted the policy eliminating Christmas changed.
"Nothing," the letter read, "prohibits public schools from teaching objectively about religion, or about holidays with religious significance, like Thanksgiving and Christmas. Nothing prohibits public school music programs from having a mix of sacred and secular songs relating to the Christmas holiday, as part of a balanced Christmas music program; or classroom assignments from having relevance to Christmas."
School District Responds To Principal’s Christmas Ban
The memo certainly had plenty of parents up in arms. And it appears the letter from Liberty Counsel and the “high volume” of calls got the job done. The school district quickly overturned the ban.
“The memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school,” read a statement released by District administration. “The District has since clarified expectations and provided further direction to staff in alignment with District policy.”
According to District spokesperson Kara Perchal, they also placed new principal Jennifer Sinclair on administrative leave. Apparently, she sent the memo without first consulting with administrators about school policy concerning the handling of religious holiday themes. Hopefully, she will be more careful in the future.
We’re glad to hear Christmas is back on at Manchester Elementary. And no matter what kind of persecution we face, let’s keep fighting to keep Christ in Christmas!
h/t: Christian Headlines
Featured Image Credit: Pexels/Brigitte Tohm