Elementary School Principal/Grinch Ousted

In a rare moment of sanity, a school district in Omaha, Nebraska, placed a principal on administrative leave after she perhaps took the “separation of church and state” idea a little too seriously.

It was discovered that one Jennifer Sinclair, principal of Manchester Elementary School, issued an internal memo banning everything even remotely related to the Christmas holiday, including, of all things, candy canes, supposedly because they are in the shape of J’s (“for Jesus”), and the colors are representative of His blood and resurrection. Teachers were also banned from singing Christmas carols, putting up trees, or referring to reindeer, among other things.

Said memo, referenced below, mentions mandates from Elkhorn School District, and reminds teachers that they need to be sensitive to all religions and cultures. While the principal herself was removed from her post, it sounds like she was just following through with what she believed the district insisted upon. Whether or not she took it too far and is the only one to blame are points of contention.

Acceptable practices:
Gifts to students
Students making gift for a loved one
Snowmen, snow women, snow people, snowflakes
Gingerbread people
Holidays Around the World – purposeful presentation of information to teach about different cultures
Sledding
Hot chocolate
Polar Bears
Penguins
Scarves, boots, earmuffs, and hats
Yetis
Olaf – Frozen

Not acceptable:
Santas or Christmas items (clipart) 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

When in doubt, ask yourself:
What is the clear instructional purpose of this?
Does this item or activity promote a certain belief or religious (sic)?

Ironically enough, in the same memo a fourth grade trip to see the Nutcracker is mentioned. I wonder if anyone told the principal that this is a Christmas-themed show?

The decision to remove Ms. Sinclair began with nonprofit group centered on Christian values and First Amendment rights, Liberty Counsel, which sent a strongly-worded letter to the district asserting that religious freedom was being infringed upon. They did not advocate for her removal; only for her compliance with what they felt was a more acceptable handling of winter holidays.

While the district policy alluded to by the principal in the full memo (both linked below) is not as harsh as the strict guidelines set forth by Ms. Sinclair to her faculty, the fact that a public school is indeed a secular institution cannot be ignored. It serves to educate the broader community, and while banning Rudolph and the colors red and green may seem a bit ridiculous, government entities are well within their rights to do so, so as to cater to the community as a whole, and not just one specific group, religious or otherwise. If you truly find this unfair, you may be ready to ask yourselves: is this really the best place to educate our children? What other, more serious things are being added to or removed from the curriculum, all in the name of political correctness?

A statement from Elkhorn School District spokesperson, Kara Perchal reads: “Elkhorn Public Schools District administration promptly addressed the issue at Manchester Elementary School regarding the memo that was sent by the principal to Manchester elementary staff. The memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school. The district has since clarified expectations and provided further direction to staff in alignment with district policy. This issue was limited to Manchester Elementary School and did not arise at any other schools within the district.”

Ms. Sinclair had been in her first year as principal of Manchester Elementary, which serves over 540 students from Kindergarten through fifth grade in the Omaha area.

Elementary school principal placed on leave after banning all things Christmas from classrooms

Letter from Liberty Counsel to Elkhorn Public School District

Manchester Elementary School – Week Ahead Notes: Dec. 3 – Dec. 7

Elkhorn Public Schools – ADMINISTRATIVE RULES AND PROCEDURES TO IMPLEMENT POLICY 604.05

Manchester Elementary

Student penalized for wearing “offensive” shirt to school

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image courtesy Amazon.com

Schools are notorious for stripping away students’ individual rights. In this way (and in many other ways), school isn’t like prison – it’s worse than prison.

Case in point: Addison Barnes, a student at Liberty High School in Hillsboro, Oregon, was suspended from school for wearing a pro-Trump, anti-illegal immigration t-shirt to his People and Politics class. Barnes was undoubtedly being deliberately provocative, as he knew his class would be discussing immigration that day. At least one student and one teacher reported feeling “offended” by his choice of attire.

Because offense is subjective, this is a slippery slope that could warrant the banning of all clothing on school grounds (but is nudity offensive? Should we all wear togas? But what color? Do white togas connote nationalism? Are we Nazis?). Schools and other public places are justified in banning items on clothing that are (for now) generally offensive, such as pictures of genitalia or curse words.

The fact that the student was aiming for a reaction is a moot point. Teenagers are always looking to “shake things up,” rebel against the status quo, and make an impact with their words, looks, and behavior. Teenagers in Parkland, FL have been praised by mainstream media outlets for “taking a stand in what they believe in,” after a school shooting earlier this year that left 17 people dead. Discouraging the promotion of one train of thought but promoting another is a violation of one’s freedom of speech and is akin to censorship, something most liberals claim to abhor.

Does everyone love President Trump? Certainly not. Are some people offended by him? Most definitely. It is cause for the banning of a shirt referencing him and his policies in a public school? Not in the slightest. Schools should remain impartial to such things, because they are government run. In this case, the school knew to some extent that their punishment of Mr. Barnes was misguided, because they lifted his suspension. However, they still banned him from wearing the shirt on school property. Does this mean that I can have white shirts banned from school because they offend me? (“Cultural appropriation!”)

He was suspended for wearing a Trump shirt. Now, he’s suing his Oregon school district