An Elkhorn school that drew national attention for a Christmas controversy last winter recently faced another religious-expression issue.

This time, it centered on the school yearbook.

Fifth-graders at Manchester Elementary School voted to put a Christian symbol on the yearbook cover: a cross.

It is not clear who designed the cover art, if the students had other choices or who authorized its printing.

But it ended up on the yearbook.

The board of directors of the Parent Teacher Organization, in charge of producing the yearbook, subsequently reprinted the book without the cross.

A spokeswoman for the Elkhorn Public Schools said Wednesday the PTO leaders and principal first saw the cross cover a couple of weeks ago after the books were printed.

The cover featured words of virtue and inspiration, including “faith,” arranged in the shape of a cross.

The PTO leaders ordered the reprint, which removed the cross and left the image of sky and clouds, said spokeswoman Kara Perchal.

The reprinted yearbook was distributed to families on Friday, the last day of school, Perchal said.

Last winter, the school drew national attention after then-principal Jennifer Sinclair issued a memo to staff prohibiting all Christmas-related symbols, including candy canes, Christmas carols, and red and green items, at the school, located northwest of 168th and Blondo Streets.

The memo caused an uproar with parents and teachers and led Sinclair to step down as principal.

Perchal said the PTOs are responsible for creating and publishing the yearbooks with money from their fundraising. PTOs do not receive district funds, she said.

Generally, she said, cover art is approved by principals in the winter. In this case, because of the situation with the previous principal, the cover didn’t go through the normal approval process, she said. The principal was on administrative leave.

PTO President Andrea Abrahamson said that when board members learned of the situation, they “voted unanimously to reprint the cover as it was not sensitive to our all-student agenda.”

“The yearbook cover in question was not distributed to students,” Abrahamson said.

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Joe covers education for The World-Herald, focusing on pre-kindergarten through high school. Phone: 402-444-1077.

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