Principal criticized for banning candy canes from classrooms

A Nebraska elementary school principal has been placed on leave after she prompted an outcry by banning certain holiday decorations from classrooms, including candy canes.

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Media outlets report Jennifer Sinclair, principal of Manchester Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska, recently sent a memo to staff outlining what decorations were and were not allowed in classrooms. Banned items included Santas, Christmas trees, "Elf on a Shelf" and candy canes - the latter of which Sinclair wrote, "the shape is a 'J' for Jesus."

Acceptable decorations included snowmen, penguins and Olaf from the movie, "Frozen."

The memo angered some teachers and parents, and eventually caught the attention of Liberty Counsel, a Florida-based First Amendment group. The organization sent a letter Nov. 30 to Elkhorn Public Schools demanding a reversal of Sinclair's ban on certain decorations.

The Omaha World-Herald reported Elkhorn Public Schools spokeswoman Kara Perchal released a statement, saying that as of Thursday, Sinclair had been placed on administrative leave.

The statement said, “the memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school.”

According to the Omaha World-Herald, Sinclair sent an email to parents Wednesday, saying she "she made a mistake, contrary to district policy, and sincerely apologized to the staff for any confusion, concern and negative attention it brought the school."

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