Jennifer Sinclair was the principal at Manchester Elementary in Elkhorn, Nebraska until she was put on leave Thursday morning.
The reason? Candy Canes.
For teachers at Manchester Elementary, December did not mark the time for happiness and cheer like it usually does.
Their holiday spirits were broken when Principal Sinclair sent out a memo detailing what holiday decorations were and were not deemed "acceptable".
Sinclair sent out the following list as "acceptable" holiday practices and decorations:
- Gifts to students
- Snowmen, snow women, snow people
- Gingerbread people
- Holidays Around the World
- Hot chocolate
- Polar Bears
- Scarves, boots, earmuffs, and hats
- "Yetis" and "Olaf" (the snowman from the movie Frozen.)
She also included this list of "unacceptable" things:
- Santas or Christmas items (clipart) on worksheets
- Christmas trees in classrooms
- Elf on the Shelf
- Singing Christmas Carols
- Playing Christmas music
- Sending a Scholastic book that is a Christmas book
- Making a Christmas ornament as a gift
- Candy Cane
- Red/Green items
- Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies
The principal did not consult with administrators regarding school policy surrounding religious holiday themes before she sent out the memo.
People could not help but notice that candy canes are on the "unacceptable" list.
Sinclair's reasoning is this.
"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," she reportedly wrote. "This would also include different colored candy canes."
Many people are not familiar with such a history for the holiday candy and are puzzled by her decision to include it as a Christmas only related decoration.
Some Christians teach this version of the "legend of the candy cane" as well as saying the shape reflects the hooks shepherds who visited Jesus used. However other people teach the shape just makes it easier to hang the candy as a decoration.
People can not help but compare Sinclair to a famous Christmas villain.
District spokesperson, Kara Perchal, stated:
"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."