Austin Kinder Teacher to Afterschool Class: "You Kids Don't Believe in Santa, Do You?"

Categories: Education

Grinch.jpg
Principal said to be horrified over subordinate's Grinching of tykes.
Late last week, a five-year-old girl came home from Austin's Pease Elementary school with a question for her dad.

"Daddy," she asked her father, "Is Santa real?"

Dad said yes, and wanted to know why his daughter asked.

"Because Mrs. Fuller" -- the girl's afterschool teacher -- "said he wasn't real. She said 'None of you believe in Santa do you?' and said that you and mommy buy all our presents and put them under the tree. She said that you should tell us the truth."

The girl's mother said the whole family was taken off guard. Her daughter had previously attended a Waldorf school, where belief in fairies and other supernatural beings was nurtured.

Not so at her new school, where the teacher reportedly has a partner-in-grinchiness. The mother said another parent told her that a second teacher assigned her students to draw two pictures on a piece of paper, one of something real, and the other of something imaginary. When the student started drawing Santa on the "real" side of the page, the teacher said Saint Nick belonged on the fake side.

The mother says that spoiling Santa is most decidedly not the school's place.

"To break that harsh reality to them in such a brutal way is just wrong," the mom says. "Especially since these kids are five. She is just really getting into Santa."

Or as the mom put it on her Facebook page: "Another adult has no right to submit their own beliefs on a group of 5 year olds and their families - about Santa, God, politics or whatever - especially phrased 'your belief is not right.'" She says another parent spoke for many when he said in an email that circulated among them that it was vital for kids to make those kinds of discoveries on their own, as they matured.

The mom emailed a complaint to the principal, who told he that she has reprimanded the teacher and given her the "tools to deal with this situation" in the future. The mom says that the principal was "horrified" by what the teachers had done, and adds that the is ordinarily wonderful Austin. (The mom likes that unlike so many schools in the capital, this one, located in the middle of town, has an ethnic mix of roughly one-third each of Anglos, Hispanics and African-Americans.)

The girl's parents have been doing some damage control of their own. Over the weekend, mom placed a Polar Express-like antique bell under the tree in the hope that the girl could draw her own conclusions, and later she asked her daughter that she was free to choose to believe whatever she wanted about Santa Claus.

"I want to believe in Santa," the girl replied.

[We've reached out to the principal and will update if and when we hear from her.]



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78 comments
girlscotti
girlscotti

This so called teacher should have deflected this discussion to the parents. Sad day for that class of children. Life, with all its truths, comes so quickly. Just a shame to take the wonderment away.

doctor_dak
doctor_dak

this is a serious first world problem....

medicinewoman2
medicinewoman2

Might as well, infringe on family beliefs and tradition. They aren't capable to teach reading, writing and Arithmetic.

TeacherOfTheYear
TeacherOfTheYear

Shame on parents for spreading lies to their children! What a courageous teacher for telling the truth.

hypatiaslore
hypatiaslore

While I don't think it was the teachers place to necessarily "debunk" the Santa myth; there are plenty of other opportunities that this could have happened without the teacher's intervention and the parent's outrage seems a bit overblown. I always wondered why it was so important to the parents to have their children experience their childhood just as they did. It's a new generation and who knows what this one will bring with it. A friend of mine "spilled the beans" when I was about 6 and it was hardly a big deal. My daughter was extremely skeptical as soon as the whole thing was brought up by her grandparents, we never said a word about it (we were going to let her believe or not), yet still, she told them (she was around 3-4), "That's funny! Deer don't fly! You're silly! Mommy and Daddy give me presents on Christmas!" She thought they were teasing her and it never occurred to her they were talking about a real thing. When she started school we had to specifically tell her that some kids really thought that Santa was real and that she should let them figure it out for themselves or let their parents tell them. I suppose this will help provide context for the "God/Religion" talk later when people start bringing that up. 

RoryC
RoryC

This piece is rather inappropriate. The writer uses the after school teacher's name. A quick google search and it is easy to locate the school. Any emotional responder has enough information to create a safety risk for the teachers class. Two questions to the writer. If the response from the principal was adequate, what is the intent of this piece? Why did you feel it was ok to use the name of the after school teacher but not the classroom teacher or the principal? My daughter knows that Santa is not real but plays along and has a great time. Same goes for other fantasy characters. Just don't let a fake problem like this cause a real problem at a place that cares for real children. You should remove the  teachers name.

Anse
Anse

The kids' are gonna get over it. People act like they're gonna be damaged for life or something.

miss_msry
miss_msry

Too many teachers are too stupid to be...well, teaching.

conebaby
conebaby topcommenter

What a bitchface!

allyourbase3
allyourbase3

these parents are nuts.  good lord, they sent their kid to a school to nurture belief in fairies.  

girlscotti
girlscotti

@TeacherOfTheYear You must have had a truly horrid childhood. Perhaps your family didn't celebrate? No Presents? Didn't get the doll you so craved? If you are actually a "teacher of the year" you know the teacher should have referred the question to the child's parents. Let children enjoy the wonderment of Santa....reality, truth, and adulthood comes much too quickly.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

I hope she feels so proud of herself. What a bitch.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

She should've minded her own business.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

@RoryC  Why should she be able to remain anonymous after doing something so selfish and stupid?

comeintokyo
comeintokyo

@Anse Losers don't care about things like this. Parents do. Let me guess, no one will breed with you, so you're hostile towards everything family oriented. Am I right?

IfItFlysItDies
IfItFlysItDies

So you are OK with teachers telling kids Santa doesn't exist? Really? Why?

Anse
Anse

Once, while briefly working as a substitute teacher, a kid asked me if masturbation causes blindness. My immediate thought was that I don't wanna talk about that stuff, but the kid acted like he really didn't know, and I didn't want him walking around all day terrified that he was going to lose his sight any day now.

miss_msry
miss_msry

@allyourbase3 Yeah, although a teacher shouldn't be talking about the reality or not of Santa, they also shouldn't be nurturing beflief in fairies.

RoryC
RoryC

@SgtStedenko My sources tell me that the author uses misquotes and attributes student comments to the teacher. Anonymity protects the students from vulgar emotional confrontations based on erroneous information.

Anse
Anse

I see no reason for insults.

TeacherOfTheYear
TeacherOfTheYear

@IfItFlysItDies Because they are telling them the truth? You want your educators to lie to your children?

Kids are gullible and you're taking advantage of their trust when you lie. Why teach them lying is ok?

Anse
Anse

I'm not okay with making a big production out of it. There are a great many ways a grown-up can harm a child. This is not one of them.

Wastrel
Wastrel

@Anse I think that you should have told him to ask his parents.  He's going to do it anyway, whether he goes blind or not, so answering the question is not that important.  Heaven knows the trouble you would get into nowadays if you discuss any sexual matter with a student unless you are a certified counselor etc. etc.

miss_msry
miss_msry

@Anse OK, and how old was this kid?  Best answer ever, ask your Dad or Mom.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

She was reprimanded, which makes you wrong. 

I really hope you aren't an actual teacher with access to other peoples' children.

RoryC
RoryC

@SgtStedenko

Abigail Williams might be a more apropos nickname for SgtStedenko.

TeacherOfTheYear
TeacherOfTheYear

@SgtStedenko She didn't do anything wrong. She simply told the truth. The problem lies with the adults who propagate mistruths to their children. 

Maybe they are mad because they feel guilty for lying.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

There are consequences to one's actions.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

You must of had a terrible childhood.

TeacherOfTheYear
TeacherOfTheYear

@SgtStedenko I like how you can't answer my question.

Do you feel that telling children Santa actually exists is a lie or the truth?

It's one or the other. Just answer it. Is it the truth or not?

Oh wait, you won't because you know I'm right.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

So what? What business is it of hers? It's not. I hope she gets fired.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

I'm entitled to my belief she is a bitch just as you are entitled to your belief she didn't do anything wrong. Deal with it.

Anse
Anse

Well, it's a big enough deal for you to call the teacher a bitch, which is entirely unwarranted.

I suppose believing in Santa Claus is up there with having imaginary friends and playing tea time with your teddy bears...except I don't think anybody would be calling for punishment for this teacher if she'd told them their teddy bears can't really talk.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

@Anse  No one is making a big production out of it. Yet another figment of your imagination.

hamerx
hamerx

Anse, you are an complete IDIOT and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near children

Anse
Anse

Why should he have to ask his parents? In case they wanted him to believe that masturbation really does cause blindness? I respect parents' right to oversee the instruction of their children, but a parent like that probably ought to homeschool. The home should probably be 1,000 miles from the nearest neighbor, and would ideally not have internet access.

SgtStedenko
SgtStedenko

It's not her obligation to debunk anything. Not her job. She should mind her own business.

Anse
Anse

Does it matter? If he's old enough to ask the question, he's old enough to know the truth.

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