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

New Jersey Teacher Spoils Santa

mike-arney-174173-unsplash.jpg
Photo courtesy Mike Arney

We all know substitute teachers aren’t always held to the same “impeccably high” standards other teachers supposedly are. But when one of them doesn’t have the common sense to keep mum about Santa Claus in a room full of six-year-olds, you have to start doubting the entire system.

In what’s being called a “personnel matter,” an unnamed substitute teacher debunked other holiday creatures in the first grade classroom, including the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, and Elf on the Shelf.

Principal Michael Raj sent out a letter to parents, informing them of a situation they probably already knew about, given the talkative nature of first graders, but the damage had already been done. Distressed mother Lisa Simek wrote on Facebook that the teacher “tried to crush” her 6-year-old’s spirit.

No matter where you stand on the issue of the belief in mythical creatures among children, or the “magic” of the holidays, one thing we can all agree on is that teachers should not be the ones to choose when, where, and how to explain sensitive issues to children. This particular teacher may have been dismissed, but you can be sure there are countless others who are doing parents’ jobs for them, every single school day. I hope the anger and frustration felt by the parents of these children won’t be forgotten in 5 years when little Billy comes home knowing precisely how anal sex works, or explaining the finer points of gun control or amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Cedar Hill Elementary is located in Montville Township, NJ and has won a 2016 award for “National School of Character.” It serves approximately 400 students in Kindergarten through fifth grade.

Teacher who spoiled Santa will not return to school

Sub Spoils Santa (and Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy) for First-Graders

Substitute teacher tells first grade students Santa isn’t real

Cedar Hill Elementary School

Kindergarten student discovered by teacher with bag of cocaine in her mouth

hardywilliams_pa.PNG
image courtesy Google Maps

A 6-year-old in Philadelphia came dangerously close to a drug overdose, today, when she was found by her kindergarten teacher with a bag of cocaine in her mouth. The little girl believed it to be candy. The teacher, undoubtedly having seen something like it before, suspected it was drugs, and alerted the authorities. The child claimed to have gotten it from the backpack a classmate, who denied it. Both children were sent to the nurse, and then sent home (to refill their stash?), and the remaining 20-plus students were searched. No other drugs were found. The school’s essentially calling it “case closed,” because you know, kids will be kids. What 6-year-old hasn’t had a bag of cocaine in their mouth at some point, after all?

Hardy Williams Elementary is a charter school serving grades K-6. On their website, they state: “Hardy Williams is a special place where your child will experience the joy of learning in a safe, positive environment. We focus on 5 core values: respect, responsibility, hard work, teamwork and kindness.” These values were well represented, today:

  1. Respect was shown to the teacher, as the child spit out the “candy” right away, and did not wind up ingesting any.
  2. Responsibility, because hey, the teacher may not have seen where the child actually acquired said bag of “candy,” but at least she got over there in time, right? I smell a Teacher of the Year award.
  3. Hard work, because it’s no easy task being a 6-year-old dealer. Most kindergartners can’t even hold their pencil properly, and these kids are rolling blunts.
  4. Teamwork, because you’ve got to learn early not to rat out your supplier. No one likes a fink.
  5. Kindness, because kindergarten is all about learning how to share, and taking turns. I wonder who’ll get the bag of candy next time?

A “typical day” is outlined on Hardy Williams’s website, including “dressing in full uniform excited to start their day,” and “2-3 hours of reading where they work in small groups. I’d like to propose a few changes to said schedule:

  • Students come to school dressed in full uniform (complete with extra pockets, for cash, supply, and paraphernalia) excited to find new customers – if only Harvey Williams would add a preschool.
  • The day starts with free breakfast, and a bong.
  • Students are greeted by their stoned teacher and head to their classroom for morning report on how much they’ve sold, and which customers just aren’t paying up.
  • We value reading.  Students have at least 2-3 hours of reading IOUs from customers and supply updates from the cartels.
  • Students have classes in math (bookkeeping – real world connections! and of course measuring and scaling dime bags), social studies (geography – whose corner is whose, and the like), and science (how else are you going to know how to make the “good” meth?).
  • Students head back to the cafeteria to enjoy free lunch (but that’s the only thing that’s free, here – pay up, Timmy, or you won’t be getting your fix this afternoon).
  • Afterwards, students enjoy free play or structured recess (whose thumbs should we break first?).
  • Students engage in art (all those really cool bongs), physical education (running after the squealers), music (when you’re high, everything sounds like music, man) or foreign language (how else are you going to know how to communicate with the cartels down in Mexico?). We are proud to educate the whole child at Mastery (including the part headed straight to prison).
  • Once the school day is over, students may stay to partake in supervised drug use, because we’re nothing if not responsible.

Rest assured: Hardy Williams Elementary School is within 5 miles of no less than a dozen police stations. I, for one, think all that law enforcement is definitely helping stem the tide of the drug crisis in our nation’s schools.

Kindergartner finds bag of cocaine in classmate’s backpack, puts in mouth, police say