Parents in Stoneham, Massachusetts, were outraged to learn their second-grade children had been told by a substitute teacher that Santa Claus isn’t real.
An angry mother reached out to WFXT after receiving an email from the school principal notifying parents of the incident.
“I was appalled to learn a substitute would purposely talk to students about the existence of Santa Claus,” the email said.
The incident, according to one mother, happened during story time.
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“She said, Santa Claus is just a character,” the mother said. “There is no such thing as Santa Claus, and it’s your parents who buy all the presents for you.”
Students in the class reportedly came home in tears, with one describing the teacher as “really mean.”
The substitute was reportedly provided by a Boston staffing agency called Kelly Services. The agency responded to the controversy when asked about the incident by WFXT.
“Kelly Services is always concerned about alleged reports of unsatisfactory behavior by one of our employees and investigates all reports,” a spokeswoman said. “However, in accordance with employment regulations and prudent business practices, we do not publicly disclose employment status or information specific to an employee."
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Some parents have raised questions about the agency’s vetting process since the incident, and don’t understand what would prompt the teacher to reveal such a thing to a room full of children.
“Who are they letting through, and what do they know about these people that they're putting with our children for the day?” one mother said. “I just want to know why -- what could possibly have been going through her mind to come out with a statement like that?"