Nebraska Principal Bans Candy Canes, Says ‘J’ Shape Signifies Jesus

Girl eating a candy cane
Matt Hollingsworth/Flickr

The principal of an elementary school in Elkhorn, Nebraska banned teachers from using candy canes in the classroom because they are in the shape of a “J,” which she believes stands for Jesus. She has been since placed on leave by the school district.

Manchester Elementary school principal Jennifer Sinclair sent out a two-page memo last week, providing teachers with a list of banned classroom decorations, as well as a list of what she had deemed acceptable, to be “inclusive and culturally sensitive to all students,” according to KETV.

The memo included banning candy canes from classrooms for being in the shape of a capital letter “J,” which the principal said has historically stood for Jesus.

“That’s Christmas related,” wrote Sinclair.

“The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection,” continued the principal, explaining why she found even the colors of a traditional candy cane offensive. Sinclair added that candy canes coming in different colors would also be prohibited.

“Red/Green items” were also on Sinclair’s list of offensive decorations, because they are “traditional Christmas colors.”

Included on the principal’s prohibited list were Christmas “clipart” on worksheets, Christmas trees, Scholastic Christmas books, Elf on the Shelf, Christmas-related movies and characters, and even reindeer.

Reports did not clarify if Sinclair specifically called out Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, who was recently accused of being “seriously problematic” by the Huffington Post, citing racism, homophobia, and sexism.

“Making a Christmas ornament as a gift” was also banned by Sinclair, “This assumes that the family has a Christmas tree which assumes they celebrate Christmas,” wrote the principal.

Singing Christmas Carols and playing Christmas music was also banned.

Sinclair did, however, mention that “snow people” and “gingerbread people” were permissible, as well as penguins, hot chocolate, and “Holidays Around the World.”

Sinclair’s inspiration to ban these items may have been derived from an already existing list of rules and procedures belonging to Elkhorn Public Schools.

On that list, it is stated that “religious symbols” can only be used by teachers if they are part of a temporary display, for the purpose of showing examples as part of a secular education program.

These religious symbols included “crosses, creches or menorahs,” although the school district did not single out any religious symbols derived from Islam.

As for Principal Sinclair, her idea of political correctness seemed to cross the line, resulting in the school district placing her on leave.

“[Sinclair’s] memo does not reflect the policy of Elkhorn Public Schools regarding holiday symbols in the school,” said district spokesperson Kara Perchal to KETV, “This issue was limited to Manchester Elementary School and did not arise at any other schools within the District.”

You can follow Alana Mastrangelo on Twitter at @ARmastrangelo and on Instagram.


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