Skip to comments.Grinchy remark sends kids home in tears [i.e., there is no Santa Claus!]
Posted on 12/23/2005 7:45:33 PM PST by mcg1969
LICKDALE Jamey Schaeffer stretched her mouth open wide, showing off a pair of twin gaps in her smile. With a mouthful of fingers, she said she has no interest in two front teeth for Christmas.
Instead, shed like a Barbie doll from Santa Claus and Santa Claus only.
But a substitute music teacher almost came between the 6-year-old and a Christmas Eve spent dancing cheek to cheek with sugar plums.
Theresa Farrisi stood in for Schaeffers regular music teacher one day last week. One of her assignments was to read Clement C. Moores famous poem, A Visit from Saint Nicholas to a first-grade class at Lickdale Elementary School.
The poem has great literary value, but it goes against my conscience to teach something which I know to be false to children, who are impressionable, said Farrisi, 43, of Myerstown. Its a story. I taught it as a story. Theres no real person called Santa Claus living at the North Pole.
Farrisi doesnt believe in Santa Claus, and she doesnt think anyone else should, either. She made her feelings clear to the classroom full of 6- and 7-year-olds, some of whom went home crying.
Schaeffer got off the school bus later that day, dragging her backpack in the mud, tears in her angry little eyes.
She yelled at me, Why did you lie? recalled Jameys mother, Elizabeth. Why didnt you tell me Santa Claus died?
Elizabeth Schaeffer said she was appalled by Farrisis bluntness.
I had to call the school, said Schaeffer, a part-time custodial employee for the school district who is on temporary leave after complications from her last childs birth. I had to do something.
Meanwhile, Farrisi, who is well versed on the history of Santa Claus the traditional and literary figure clarified her comments.
I did not tell the students Santa Claus was dead, she explained. I said there was a man named Nickolas of Myrna who died in 343 A.D., upon whom the Santa Claus myth (is based).
On Monday night, Jamey started to recite Moores famous poem while sitting on a couch next to a freshly cut tree, trimmed in tinsel and topped with a golden star: Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house. No creatures stirred.
She paused, looked up, and said thats when the teacher interjected, just a few lines before the verse that announces the arrival of a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
The teacher stopped reading and told us no one comes down the chimney, Jamey said, curling into a ball on the couch, bracing her chin on her knees, her voice shrinking away like melting ice cream. She said our parents buy the presents, not Santa.
Sharing in the belief of Santa Claus is a very special event in the Schaeffer home. Jameys the second youngest of five children. The three oldest have already grown up and left the family nest. Only Jamey and her 18-month-old sister, Amanda, remain.
Last year, Elizabeth Schaeffer recalled, Santa left a trail of boot prints in charred ashes from his feet-first landing in the fireplace. And this year, the family will continue their tradition of leaving him a plate of cookies, a tall glass of milk and a ripe, shaved carrot for Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.
The Schaeffer family wasnt the only one taken aback by Farrisis approach to Santa.
Tim and Beth Rittle said they found their 7-year-old daughter, Holly, in tears in the back seat of their car after they picked her up from school that day.
All of a sudden, Holly just started crying, Beth Rittle said. She said she had a substitute in music class, and she told the class theres no such thing as Santa Claus.
Schaeffer and Rittle both called Northern Lebanon School District Superintendent Don L. Bell.
Since the issue involves personnel, Bell said Monday, there is little he can say about the incident, adding that it has not been determined if any disciplinary action is warranted against Farrisi.
Bell said he was aware that several parents have expressed concerns about the incident.
He also noted that the handling of Santa Claus isnt covered in the school code.
We do not have a Santa Claus policy, he said. Its unfortunate, but I really cant say anything about it.
Farrisi said she considered approaching the schools administration with her concerns about how to handle Santa Claus in class. Instead, she said, she decided to add a disclaimer to her lesson.
Those same children are going to know someday that what their parents taught them is false, she ex-plained. There is no Santa Claus.
Meanwhile, Elizabeth Schaeffer was carefully thinking about her next step. She decided to make a photocopy of editor Francis P. Churchs famous response to a little girl, who wrote to The New York Sun many decades ago, asking the same question Schaeffers daughter struggled with last week.
I mailed (Farrisi) a copy of Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus, she said, giggling with satisfaction. I wish I could be there when she opens it.
As for Jamey, in an attempt to reaffirm her spot on Santas nice list, she drew up a new letter in bright red magic marker, a message destined for the Santa she refuses to abandon.
Dear Santa ... How is the North Pole? she said, reading her letter loudly and proudly. How is Mrs. Claus? You are Great. From Jamey.
Theresa Farrisi is an evil woman. She deserves coal in her stocking!
That's rotten. She's a typical heartless liberal.
Bet ya, she's mum on what an abortion is.
Here we go again!
what a stupid selfish b!tch - selfish is what she is because she derrived power and, if I had to guess, pleaure from telling those kids that Santa wasn't real
Ho Ho Ho!
Some of us are too busy with Christmas to read every dang thread.
So I'm glad it was reposted for those of us who missed it first time around.
I thought Luke Skyfreeper had bigger battles to fight. All over the Galaxy. Have you seen Santa and his reindeer out there yet?
True. He's called Joulupukki, and lives in Lapland
In 1925, it was discovered that there are no reindeer at the North Pole. There are, however, lots of reindeer in Lapland, Finland.
In 1927, the great secret of Santa's address was revealed by Markus Rautio ("Uncle Markus") who compered the popular "Children's hour" on Finnish public radio. He declared that Father Xmas lives on Lapland's Korvatunturi Mountain.
You'd think Luke Skyfreeper would be busy tonight wrapping presents for Chewbaca and the Droids.
Lol. I've been mostly away and out of action for a while (in a distant galaxy, of course) and may have lost some of my perspective on which battles are critical. :-)
What a stone bitch.
Alarming evidence that Father Christmas died in 1564 has turned up in the records of a country church.
While every child knows that this could not possibly be the real Santa Claus, nevertheless someone called Father Christmas was laid to rest in a churchyard in the village of Dedham, Essex, on May 30 that year.
An entry in the parish record for that month states: "The 30[th] Day, Father Christmas was buried." Any headstone marking his grave disappeared many years ago.
Sigh. No Santa. But there's always the government!
My apologies, folks. You know what I did? I searched using DRUDGE'S headline, and then posted using the paper's. DUH.
Moderator, feel free to delete/combine.
This cold hearted woman terrorized a class......she sent little children home sobbing.....I am too much of a lady to say what I really think of her.
What a meanie she is to say that to them children.
She must have been a bad girl when she was little and SANTA Clause didnt come to see her soooo she has to take out her bitterness on other kids.
We didn't tell our oldest three children about Santa - we would rather not get to the point where we have to say Santa is just a story but Jesus is real.
Our youngest has picked up on Santa and wants so much to believe in him - and one reason I am refraining from setting her straight is for the sake of the other children at her pre-school. (I tried talking about Saint Nicholas and when I got to the word heaven she just put up a wall, so I let it go...)