A substitute teacher at a New Jersey elementary school may get put on the naughty list after telling a class that Santa Claus is not real and the presents left under the Christmas tree are put there by their parents.
Michael J. Raj, the principal of Cedar Hill Elementary School in Towaco in Morris County, told parents in a letter that the incident happened Thursday, and the school had talked to the substitute "regarding her poor judgment in making this proclamation," NJ.com reported.
"As a father of four myself, I am truly aware of the sensitive nature of this announcement," he said. "On behalf of Cedar Hill School, I apologize for this incident."
Raj said he wanted to alert parents of the situation in case their children bring it up.
"If the conversation comes up at home over the next few days you can take appropriate steps to maintain the childhood innocence of the holiday season," he wrote in the letter.
Parent Lisa Simek wrote on Facebook that the teacher began by asking the class what holiday was coming up. When the kids answered that Christmas was the next holiday, the teacher "proceeded to just completely unleash on them," Simek posted.
"She told them Santa isn’t real and parents just buy presents and put them under their tree," wrote Simek, whose 6-year-old daughter was in the class. "She told them reindeer can’t fly and elves are not real."
The substitute didn't stop there and also told the class that the tooth fairy and Easter Bunny don't exist, according to Simek's post.
"A grown woman tried to crush our 6-year-old's spirit, along with the spirits of the other 22 kids in CH’s 1st Grade class. Many of us parents have been doing damage control since the kids get home from school today," she said.
Another parent, Mayra Aboyoun, posted in a Montville Moms Facebook group that her daughter was "heartbroken," according to local outlet Tap into Montville.
Aboyoun told the outlet that she tried to remedy the situation by taking her daughter to see Santa at a local event and telling her that the substitute was Santa's evil counterpart and "will not be returning."
Raj told NJ.com that the substitute has worked in the Montville school district for a few years, but it is uncertain if she will be invited back to teach at Cedar Hill.