Principal 'Grinch' bans candy canes because they're shaped like 'J' for Jesus

A US school principal has been placed on leave after she banned candy canes - because their shape looks like 'J' for Jesus.

Manchester Elementary School leader Jennifer Sinclair sent a memo to her teachers warning them that Christmas-themed decorations and practises were banned to avoid causing anyone offence.

Her list of unacceptable things included Santas, Christmas trees, reindeer - and candy canes.

"Historically, the shape is a 'J' for Jesus," she wrote, according to KETV.

"The red is for the blood of Christ, and the white is a symbol of his resurrection."

Calling herself the "(Unintentional) Grinch", she said it was teachers' jobs to be "inclusive".

"We are not to be doing any Christmas or holiday-specific themed activities with students," Ms Sinclair wrote in her memo.

"Please reflect on what you've already copied, prepped and posted."

She provided a list of secular holiday items which were inclusive enough, including polar bears, penguins, snow people and snowflakes - and warned teachers of what would happen if they disobeyed her.

"I'm hopeful we can avoid the discomfort of me directly questioning something you've copied, posted and had your kids do.

"That makes me uncomfortable, and I know it doesn't feel good. Signed, The (Unintentional) Grinch who stole Christmas (from Manchester)."

But her plan fell apart after free speech advocacy group Liberty Counsel demanding the ban be reversed, claiming it "violates the US Constitution by showing hostility toward Christianity".

District spokesperson Kara Perchal said that the ban didn't reflect the district's policy on holiday symbols in schools and Ms Sinclair didn't consult about the policy.

Ms Sinclair has put on administrative leave and the ban had been reversed.