Christmas is, for many people, a time of religious reflection. The Christian holiday symbolizes the birth of Christ, and although it's taken on many forms and meanings for people all over the world, the holiday is still rooted in Christianity. There are certain Christmas items that are clearly religious in nature, like mangers. But plenty of Christmas stuff is more secular in nature. Most people don't think of Jesus when they see Christmas candy, like candy canes, right? But apparently, a principal in Omaha, Nebraska felt that the red and white hooked candies were a little too Christian, and banned them from her school in an effort to make the school more inclusive and sensitive to all cultures. Listen, we are all for inclusiveness, but this seems like a bit of an overreaction.
Jessica Sinclair is the new principal at Manchester Elementary School in Omaha, Nebraska. She recently sent out a directive regarding what is and isn't allowed at school during the holiday season. On the list of banned items were Christmas carols, Christmas trees, ornaments, and items using red, white, or green colors. That includes candy canes, the quintessential Christmas candy.
So why would candy canes be banned, you ask? Apparently because the red is for the blood of Christ, the white is the symbol of his resurrection, and the shape is a J for Jesus (fwiw, Snopes says this popular belief isn't entirely true). Sinclair made the decision without consulting the rest of the administration, and while we applaud her willingness to make her school more inclusive, this seems to go a bit overboard.
A spokesperson for Elkhorn Public Schools District said in a statement that the directive was not reflective of the district policy regarding holiday symbols in schools, and they've provided clarification and direction to the staff to align with the district policy.
The other banned items include:
- Santas or Christmas items 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 Canes
- Traditional Christmas colors like red and green
- Christmas videos/movies and/or characters from Christmas movies.
In the directive, Sinclair does allow for some holiday or winter-themed items, like polar bears and penguins, snowflakes, hot chocolate, gingerbread people, acknowledgement of holidays from around the world, and characters like the Yeti and Olaf.