A Nebraska public school that made big headlines in December when its then-principal banned Christmas-related items is weathering yet another religious controversy.
Turns out fifth graders at Manchester Elementary School in Omaha voted to place words in the shape of a cross on the school's yearbook cover, the Omaha World-Herald reported.
But while the Parent-Teacher Organization worked with a company to produce the yearbook, a spokeswoman for Elkhorn Public Schools indicated last week that PTO leaders and the school's principal first saw the cross cover a couple of weeks ago after the books were printed, the paper reported.
It's unclear if any adults authorized the printing or oversaw the voting, the World-Herald reported.
The cross cover is one of at least 50 free designs from Memory Book Company, a yearbook vendor, and the "Love & Faith" cross cover is described on company's website as a "beautiful cover perfect for parochial schools," the paper said.
But once the powers that be got a gander at the cross, the paper said PTO leaders voted to remove it from the front cover in a yearbook reprint.
PTO President Andrea Abrahamson told the World-Herald that the PTO has let fifth graders select the cover for several years.
It appears, however, that when then-Principal Jennifer Sinclair was placed on leave last December after banning Christmas-related items — even candy canes, as their "J" shape stands "for Jesus," she wrote in a memo to staff — the yearbook cover approval process may have been compromised.
District spokeswoman Kara Perchal told the World-Herald in a separate article that principals typically approve cover art in the winter, but the cover didn't go through usual approval process since Sinclair was on leave at the time. She stepped down as principal in January, the paper said.
Perchal added to the World-Herald that PTOs are responsible for creating and publishing the yearbooks with money from their fundraising, and that PTOs don't get district funds.
Here's a news report that aired after Sinclair was placed on leave:
Manchester Elementary parents divided after principal put on administrative leaveyoutu.be