The principal of Manchester Elementary School in Elkhorn was placed on leave in December 2018 after a memo she sent to teachers telling them she was banning candy canes, Santa Claus, Christmas trees, Christmas carols, and Christmas carols leaked.
It was announced the next month that Jennifer Sinclair, the principal, would not return to her position, though she was retained by the district and moved to a different position. Sinclair never issued a public apology, although she reportedly sent one to parents.
Now the school is in the news again after yanking an already printed yearbook before it was distributed.
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Kara Perchal, a spokeswoman for Elkhorn Public Schools, told the Omaha World-Herald that the decision was made by leaders of the school’s parent-teacher organization.
The symbol was a collection of inspiring words such as faith, love, learn, achieve arranged in the shape of a Christian cross that had been voted onto the cover by fifth-graders.
The yearbooks were then reprinted without the cross symbol. Instead, the front had just the background sky.
An Elkhorn school that drew national attention for a Christmas controversy last winter faced another religious-expression issue when fifth-graders voted to put a Christian symbol on the yearbook cover: a cross.
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The board of directors of the Parent Teacher Organization “voted unanimously to reprint the cover as it was not sensitive to our all-student agenda,” president Andrea Abrahamson said.
Perchal said that the organization created and published the yearbook with money from fundraisers and does not receive any money from the district. In general, principals approve the covers but because Sinclair was placed on leave in December and a decision wasn’t made regarding her status until January, the cover didn’t go through the normal process.
The cover that was on the first printing is a free cover available from Memory Book Company, a yearbook vendor, titled “Love & Faith.”
“A beautiful cover perfect for parochial schools,” the company’s website states.
According to the Parent Teacher Organization’s website, its mission “is to enrich the environment of Manchester Elementary. We hope to accomplish this by promoting community events, providing monetary support and creating a sense of pride in our school.”
“We welcome all parents and guardians to get involved and be a part of the PTO process. Although we encourage financial support through fundraising efforts, there are no fees or dues required to be a part of our organization. The PTO provides an opportunity for parents and teachers to interact and work together to sponsor a variety of events to support our school. The events provide an opportunity for all families and staff to get together outside the classroom and have some fun!” it added.
“There are several committees established to support and coordinate the many events and projects throughout the school year. It takes the time and talent of many to help us achieve our mission and we appreciate everyone’s involvement in making our PTO successful. Feel free to give as much or as little as your schedule allows. You do not need to be at every PTO meeting in order to be involved in a committee.”
There was no information on the organization’s site about the yearbook situation.