updated 12/23/2006 10:53:48 PM ET 2006-12-24T03:53:48

A man doused himself with flammable liquid and set himself afire, apparently to protest a school district’s decision to change the names of winter and spring breaks to Christmas and Easter vacation.

The man suffered first degree burns on his shoulders and arms on Friday, Fire Department Capt. Garth Milam said.

He had a sign that read “(expletive) the religious establishment and KHSD,” said Kern County Sheriff’s Deputy John Leyendecker. On Thursday, the Kern High School Board of Trustees had voted to change the names of the holiday breaks.

The man, whose name was not released, also set fire to a Christmas tree and flags in a public area, Milam said.

He stood with an American flag around his shoulders and poured the liquid over himself. The flaming tree ignited the liquid.

Sheriff’s Deputy Lance Ferguson said he and a parole agent sprayed him with fire extinguishers.

“The man stood there like this,” Ferguson said, holding his arms across his chest and his head bent down, “Saying no, no, no.”

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