Canada
Supply teacher tells Ottawa children there's no Santa

The 43rd Annual Help Santa Toy Parade entertained thousands of people as it made its way through downtown Ottawa Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012.

Credits: DARREN BROWN/QMI AGENCY

DOUG HEMPSTEAD | QMI AGENCY

OTTAWA -- Angry parents were forced into serious damage control Tuesday night and Wednesday morning after a group of children were told by their teacher that Santa is "a myth."

The travesty took place in a Grade 4 classroom at St. Andrew Catholic School in Barrhaven.

According to parent Troy MacFarlane, his 9-year-old daughter explained the confusing news at breakfast Wednesday.

"Her supply teacher and the class read a story from their books and at the end the teacher decided she had to tell this class of 9-year-olds that Santa is a myth and doesn't exist," MacFarlane said.

He and his wife managed to successfully convince her otherwise -- by digging out her Christmas scrapbook and reminding her of her Sunday visit with Santa Claus at a staff party just a few days earlier.

Adolescent tastes are thrown at modern-day children earlier than they were when MacFarlane was a kid.

He figures many of the kids in his daughter's class were right on the verge of scrapping any faith in the Jolly Old Elf.

"With all of us knowing that the years of truly believing in Santa are grinding to an end, why would a teacher think it was her responsibility to crush 25 kids dreams?" he asked. "Luckily we were able to reignite her belief in Santa and hopefully allow her to be a kid for a few more years."

School board spokeswoman Mardi deKemp said the unfortunate incident was an isolated one.

"We have a strong tradition of celebrating the Christmas story," deKemp said. "Both of Jesus' birth and the story of Santa."

She said the school still has a week to reverse any damage caused by the supply teacher.

"It's being handed by their regular teacher. The regular teacher has talked to the students," she said. "We're very sorry about that."

Students told their parents one explanation given to the students was that the supply teacher was from another country and things were done differently where she comes from.

DeKemp wouldn't confirm this but said the school board embraces different cultures.

"I'm not sure what was said," she said. "Supply teachers are held to the same high standard as all teachers."

MacFarlane said he is among several parents who complained to the school about the Santa spoiler.

"We're stealing the youth of our children so quickly," he said. "Myth is not a word our daughter uses."

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