An Elementary School Principal Tried to Ban Christmas...and It Didn't Work Out So Well

Brittany M. Hughes | December 5, 2018
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A Nebraska elementary school principal made a bold move this year by actually trying to ban Christmas for her students and faculty – and it didn’t go over so well.

According to this, in her first year at Manchester Elementary School in Omaha, Principal Jennifer Sinclair really pulled a Scrooge by sending out a memo to her staff letting them know she’d banned a whole list of Christmas-related items from the building this holiday season. The extensive list included religious-themed items like candy canes (offensive for being shaped like a “J” for “Jesus”), along with a slew of secular Christmas stuff like Santa, elves and even red and green craft projects. Here’s her whole 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 
  • Reindeer 
  • Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies

Items that weren’t banned, however, included Olaf from the Disney movie “Frozen,” gift exchanges, penguins, hot chocolate, and pretty much everything winter-but-not-Christmas-related.

In the memo, Sinclair admitted she "come[s] from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools" and that "as a public school" Manchester Elementary must be "inclusive and culturally sensitive to all of our students."

“Please reflect on what you've already copied, prepped and posted," Sinclair told her staff. "I'm hopeful we can avoid the discomfort of me directly questioning something you've copied, posted and had your kids do. That makes me uncomfortable, and I know it doesn't feel good."

Sinclair reportedly signed the ridiculous memo, “The (Unintentional) Grinch who stole Christmas (from Manchester)."

But word got out of this particular Scrooge’s effort to ruin everyone’s holiday, making its way all the way to the non-profit litigation firm Liberty Counsel.

The firm sent a demand letter to the superintendent of Elkhorn Public Schools about Sinclair’s all-out Christmas ban, calling for the district to "immediately overrule and specifically disavow the sweeping directive banning Christmas holiday items, and require Principal Sinclair to undertake review of District policy and the law."

The district wrote back, saying it had "investigated this matter and determined that Principal Sinclair's memorandum did not comply with Board Policy,” and had further instructed Manchester Elementary staff that many Christmas items were, in fact, perfectly fine.

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