School principal put on leave for Christmas decorations ban

School principal placed on leave for Christmas decoration ban in Nebraska

OMAHA, NE (KETV/CNN) - A Christmas controversy in Nebraska has a new school principal on leave.

The Elkhorn School District says the principal banned Christmas decorations from classrooms and didn't consult with administrators about the policy.

In a two-page memo sent to teachers and staff at Manchester Elementary, Principal Jennifer Sinclair laid out her list, highlighting "not acceptable practices" during the holiday season.

That list banned Christmas in the classroom, including candy canes because they symbolize a "J" for Jesus.

No Santas or Christmas trees allowed, either. On the "acceptable items" list were snowmen, penguins and holidays around the world.

In her memo, Sinclair calls the list inclusive and culturally sensitive to all students. She signed it "The (Unintentional) Grinch who stole Christmas (from Manchester)."

"But for the fact that some school staff got us involved, she would have been the 'Grinch' in Manchester and would have sent a very terrible message to the school district," said Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel.

Mat Staver is the founder of Liberty Counsel, an organization dedicated to advancing what it calls "religious freedom."

He says the list violates the school district's policy and First Amendment laws.

The counsel sent a letter to administrators last Friday.

The school district released a statement saying administration “promptly addressed the issue,” and the memo does “not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools.”

A district spokesperson said the school is receiving a high volume of phone calls from concerned parents and an officer will be present at school in the coming days.

The school district has not said how long the principal could be on administrative leave.

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