Liberty Counsel — a law firm focused on religious freedom — caught wind of a Nebraska elementary school principal who banned a long list of Christmas-related items.
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What kinds of items, you ask? Liberty Counsel provided a memo from principal Jennifer Sinclair that spelled out in detail all the banned items at Manchester Elementary School in Omaha:
- 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
Students John Siebler of Fort White, Florida, and Mary Ellen Stroh, of Midland, Michigan, dress up as Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and appear for local children during the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School workshop on Oct. 17, 2008, in Midland, Michigan.
What was the principal's reasoning?
Sinclair — who's in her first year as Manchester's principal — noted in the memo that she "come[s] from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools" and that "as a public school" Manchester Elementary will be seek to be "inclusive and culturally sensitive to all of our students."
"I have unknowingly awoken a 'sleeping giant' with many of you," she added. "I apologize for the stress that 'Christmas/holiday/ Grinch/Santa/tree' emails and conversations have caused you."
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