MONTVILLE, NJ – Social media was steaming and Montville parents were fuming when a parent whose child is a first grader at Cedar Hill Elementary in Towaco posted onto the Montville Moms Facebook page Nov. 29 that a substitute teacher identified only as “Ms. M” had told the children in the class that there was no such thing as Santa.
Mayra Aboyoun wrote that she was furious after the substitute teacher “took it upon herself” to tell the class of six year olds that Santa was not real.
“The children began yelling that everything is real and she continued by saying that the elves and reindeer aren’t real either,” she wrote. “Nothing is real! My daughter is completely heartbroken!”
“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.’ My daughter literally said, ‘she took away our imagination.’”
Angry parents on the thread, both with school children and without, were calling for the substitute teacher’s firing. Some called her the Grinch; another commenter called it “ignorance, devastation, and heartlessness.” Many said it was sad to ruin Christmas for children at such a young age. Some suggested that the class should have a visit from St. Nick himself.
Jewish people were also quick to support the upset parents by commenting on the Facebook post.
For example, Jessica Davy wrote, “Being Jewish, I remember my parents telling me to never say anything in school about Santa not being real – they taught about respecting others' cultures and traditions. This is very sad.”
Cedar Hill Principal Michael Raj sent a letter to the parents of children in that class which said,
“I wanted to make you aware of a situation that occurred today in your child’s classroom. During the course of the day, a substitute teacher apparently announced to the class that Santa was not real. Once I became aware of the situation, I immediately spoke to the substitute teacher regarding her poor judgment in making this proclamation to [the class].
“As a father of four myself, I am truly aware of the sensitive nature of this announcement. On behalf of Cedar Hill School, I apologize for this incident. I am sending this letter so that you are aware of this situation and 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.”
When contacted for comment, Superintendent of Schools René Rovtar said that “the incident is under investigation. I am troubled and disheartened by this incident. The childhood wonder associated with all holidays and traditions is something I personally hold near and dear in my own heart.”
As far as the mom who first mentioned the situation on Facebook, Mayra Aboyoun said that her daughter doesn’t believe the substitute teacher. She took her daughter to visit Santa as part of the Towaco Shop Hop event, and her daughter is happy.
“I told her [the sub] is Krampus’ [Santa’s evil counterpart] helper and will not be returning,” Aboyoun said. “She believes me.”