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A school district in Nebraska has clarified that a principal’s recent directives to teachers effectively banning all Christmas and other religious holiday symbols violate school board policy.
A lawyer for Elkhorn Public Schools has criticized the guidance given last week to teachers at Manchester Elementary School by Principal Jennifer Sinclair in a response letter sent Monday to lawyers at Liberty Counsel.
Sinclair - Guidance - Teachers - Things - Christmas
Sinclair’s guidance warned teachers against things such as having Christmas trees in the classroom, putting Christmas symbols on school worksheets, the singing of Christmas carols and the playing of Christmas music.
Sinclair advised teachers against having students make Christmas ornaments as gifts and even advised them not to use the colors red and green because of their connection to the Christmas holiday.
Sinclaire - List - Canes - Sticks - Candy
Also on Sinclaire’s "not acceptable" list was candy canes, cane-shaped sticks of candy that are often peppermint flavored.
“That’s Christmas-related,” she wrote. “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.”
Sinclair - Guidance - School - District - Policy
Sinclair based her guidance off of a school district policy that calls for all learning activities, student exhibits and student programs to not endorse or promote any given religion or faith.
“I know that you all are very kind and conscientious people,” Sinclair told the teachers in her guidance. “I know all of the things that you’d like to do, have done, want to do are coming from such a good place. I come from a place that Christmas and the like are not allowed in schools, as over the years in my educational career, this has evolved into the expectation for all educators.”
Sinclair - Teachers - Doubt - Activity - Decoration
Sinclair suggested that if teachers have any doubt about an activity or decoration they had planned, they should ask themselves “What is the clear instructional...
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