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‘Nothing is real.’ Teacher tells ‘heartbroken’ first-graders that Santa is imaginary

Santa Claus visits Arroyo Grande Village

Santa Claus is greeting children at the Conrad House in downtown Arroyo Grande until Christmas. For the past four years, Jack von Biela has been Santa Claus for the city of Arroyo Grande, and he'll be on hand until Christmas from 3 to 5:30 p.m. We
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Santa Claus is greeting children at the Conrad House in downtown Arroyo Grande until Christmas. For the past four years, Jack von Biela has been Santa Claus for the city of Arroyo Grande, and he'll be on hand until Christmas from 3 to 5:30 p.m. We

Mayra Aboyoun said she was left with some explaining to do after a substitute teacher made a spirit-crushing statement to her first-grade daughter’s class: Santa isn’t real.

“I was heartbroken,” the mother said, according to News12. “You know, my daughter is the hugest believer in the whole Christmas spirit - Santa, giving.”

She wasn’t the only one offended. Multiple parents took to the Montville Moms Facebook page, a private Facebook group that only accepts community members, to share their opinions on the Grinchy teacher, according to TAPintoPlainfield.

Ginger Holmes, whose daughter was in the class, wrote on the Facebook page that her daughter said the teacher “took away our imagination,” according to TAPintoPlainfield.

“Oh, it wasn’t just Santa – it was the Easter bunny, tooth fairy, leprechauns, everything,” wrote Ginger Holmes. “She told the children, ‘your parents buy all your gifts.’”

So how did the unidentified teacher get to the topic of Santa and the Tooth Fairy?

Rene Rovtar, superintendent of the Montville Public Schools, said the teacher had the class working on a writing assignment when one student wrote that Santa is real, according to NJ.com.

Things took a turn for the worse, Rotvar said, as the teacher “felt compelled, somehow, to tell a student that Santa is not real,” NJ.com reported.

Lisa Simek, another parent of a student in the first-grade class, wrote on her personal Facebook page that “a grown woman tried to crush our six-year-old’s spirit, along with the spirits of the other 22 kids” in the class.

“She told them Santa isn’t real and parents just buy presents and put them under their tree,” Simek wrote. “She told them reindeer can’t fly and elves are not real- elf on the shelf is just a pretend doll that your parents move around.

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“She did not even stop there: the tooth fairy is not real because mom or dad just sneak into your room in the middle of the night and put money under your pillow, same goes for the Easter bunny,” Simek wrote. “She told them magic does not exist. There is no such thing as magic anything.”

Aboyoun wrote that children were “yelling that everything is real” as the teacher continued to shoot down their beliefs, according to TAPintoPlainfield.

As news of the substitute teacher’s actions spread, Cedar Hill School Principal Michael Raj wrote in a statement that he had a discussion with a teacher about her “poor judgment” on the “sensitive” topic, according to The Associated Press.

“As a father of four myself, I am truly aware of the sensitive nature of this announcement,” he wrote, according to NJ.com.

In an update to her original status, Simek wrote that a high school journalism class is now planning to write “personalized” letters from the North Pole to help give the first-grade students an extra bit of Christmas magic. She also urged kindness in the spirit of the season.

“Please no negative comments about the substitute,” she wrote. “We don’t know her situation and perspective, and no matter how unfortunate a situation, we must all learn from this that Christmas magic is real and shown through acts of kindness, love, positivity and grace for/from loved ones as well as strangers.

“Moral of the story: Just be kind,” she concluded. “When in doubt, Always choose being kind, and you will always be in the right.”

And don’t worry: Aboyoun says she came up with the perfect explanation for what her “heartbroken” daughter had experienced.

“I told her (the substitute teacher) is Krampus’ (Santa’s evil counterpart) helper and will not be returning,”she wrote, according to TAPintoPlainfield. “She believes me.”

"The Elf on the Shelf: A Christmas Tradition" is a 2005 children's picture book that describes how Santa's "scout elves" hide in people's homes to watch over activities, good and bad. One elf in Gautier, Miss., known as Elf on the Bayou, went rogue.

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