School officials at Ames High School in Iowa removed a Christmas tree from the cafeteria after receiving complaints that the tree was "offensive," according to several local media reports.
The tree had been donated to the school for its winter dance. The tree was decorated in Iowa State University Cardinal and Gold colors. School officials told local media it was called a "winter tree" not a Christmas tree or a holiday tree.
However, students said it was clearly a Christmas tree. Apparently, the twinkling lights and ornaments gave it away.
Students were very upset after the tree was removed.
"You can't stop the world from celebrating," student Jay Hoskins told the newspaper. "It was kind of heartbreaking."
"I think it's them being oversensitive and overly politically correct," student Megan Streit told WHO-TV. "They did call it non-denominational so I don't see why it could offend someone when they're trying so hard to make it not offensive."
But it was student Eric Jones who accurately guessed what happened.
"I bet someone told their parents and they didn't think it was a good idea in case someone did get offended," Jones told the television station.
And it turns out the complaints came from adults -- not students.
Tim Taylor, the district superintendent, told the Ames Tribune that the tree was simply intended as a decoration for the high school's winter dance.
"We are in the business of education students," he told the newspaper. "I didn't want this to become a distraction that would take away from the precious time we have to do that. So we decided it would be best to take down the tree."
The district reportedly has a policy on religion that states -- in part -- preferential or derogatory treatment of any religion shall not take place.
Does that include tossing a Christmas tree out of a school building?