He said it was a playful gesture born out of a conversation that began on social media with parents sharing their elfish bloopers.
“What came out of that was I gave some folks an out,” he told the AJC with a hearty laugh late Thursday. “You could give your elf on the shelf a break if you needed to.”
Leonard, who may be unaware the elves are Cobb County natives, tweeted news of the order and said it was a favor to parents whose elves may forget to move at night.
“I am a public servant and will take the heat for you,” Leonard tweeted. “My gift to tired parents.”
Leonard in his order, described the elves as a distraction for students “and a risk to the emotional health and wellbeing of Cobb’s young children.” He went on to cite COVID-19 and supply chain issues in his reasoning for the ban.
The judge drew from a “horrific” real-life incident in his family when an elf failed to move to a new location overnight. His two daughters came down and saw it in the same spot. They blamed their brother for touching the elf and killing it.
“Three children went to school in tears, with one child being labeled an ‘Elf Murderer’ and accused of making the elf ‘lose his magic,’” the judge recalled. “The court has no doubt that day of education was lost to everyone.”