UPDATE: Poll: Santa in the Schools

What are your thoughts of Santa being discussed in the schools? Comment below


On Thursday Dec. 1, News 12 received an anonymous tip from a Nanuet parent accusing a Miller Elementary School teacher of spilling the beans about Santa Claus to her class of second graders.

"This matter is being discussed internally, and it would be inappropriate for me to comment further," said Superintendent Mark McNeill.

According to a Huffington Post article, Teacher Leatrice Ann Eng, 58, "had since apologized to the parents of each student in the class in a string of phone calls to the students' homes."

Patch wants to know what your thoughts are on Santa in the schools.

Should he be taught in school?

How should a teacher approach Santa in class?

Do you believe in Santa?

Don December 01, 2011 at 08:00 PM
What miserable human being would do this?
Josephine Walsh December 01, 2011 at 08:47 PM
I think it is up to the parents - NOT THE SCHOOL OR TEACHER - to decide when to discuss Santa with a child! In this day and age, children are forced to grow up before their time . . . For God's sake, let the children keep their innocence for as long as possible. This person is an IDIOT or just a plain SCROOGE for doing what he/she did. He or she has stepped way over the line!
Robert Ward Kurkela December 01, 2011 at 09:16 PM
DEAR EDITOR: I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, 'If you see it in THE SUN it's so.' Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus? VIRGINIA O'HANLON. 115 WEST NINETY-FIFTH STREET. VIRGINIA, your little friends are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except [what] they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, as measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge. Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.
Robert Ward Kurkela December 01, 2011 at 09:37 PM
Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Nobody sees Santa Claus, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. No Santa Claus! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood.
Robert Ward Kurkela December 01, 2011 at 09:45 PM
Eight-year-old Virginia O'Hanlon wrote a letter to the editor of New York's Sun, and the quick response was printed as an unsigned editorial Sept. 21, 1897. The work of veteran newsman Francis Pharcellus Church has since become history's most reprinted newspaper editorial, appearing in part or whole in dozens of languages in books, movies, and other editorials, and on posters and stamps.
Maya December 01, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Bah Humbug ...The teacher was wrong- Its up to a childs parents to tell the myth and magic of Santa...
Christian Gilkern December 02, 2011 at 12:10 AM
But at some point the schools do have to teach about history, social studies, and culture. If second grade is not the right age, then when? Have we all agreed upon and communicated to each other what age is appropriate to be honest with kids about Santa Claus? Moreover, why do we so cherish their "innocence"? Is it for them -- or for us? Shouldn't we be engaging their childhood curiosity and imagination by making them excited about the real world, instead of a fantasy? For Christians, I would think they would want the emphasis to be on Jesus, not Santa. For non-Christians, I would think they would want their children to either participate in the giving (i.e., helping the needy in society) or to at least appreciate all the thought, love, and work that their own parents (not some mythical being) have put into making the holiday fun and festive. If we didn't lie to our children about all of this to begin with, we wouldn't have to deal with disillusioning them.
Conservative NYer December 02, 2011 at 02:25 AM
This teacher was way out of line and if my children attended that school (thank God they don't) you can bet your life I would be there faster than Santa going up that chimney!! That teacher just stole a little bit of innocence from each one of his students and took magic away from each one of those families this Christmas Season - what little of it is left these days. Shame on him!! THis was a matter for the parents NOT the teacher. Your job is to teach my child nothing more and nothing less. I am the parent, YOU are JUST MY CHILD'S TEACHER who gave your the moral compass to tell children that are NOT even your own there is no Santa Claus. (S/he was probably a liberal too... LOL...) Oh and not to mention that is just down right mean and nasty....Would love to know the name of that teacher.
BenRound December 02, 2011 at 02:59 AM
Oh give it a rest and give me a break. They're 7yr olds, not 17yr olds. The teacher was wrong on many levels, period. Who are you to profess what Christians and non Christians may want for thier kids? You assume Santa Claus and Christianity have a link? They're mutually exclusive. Santa happens to be a part of the Christmas joy, not the religious underpinnings of Christmas. It's about childhood. Much like the tooth fairy, the Easter Bunny, the Stork who brings babyies, Disney tales and superheros. They don't take away from the reality of life, they add to it's wonderment and imagination. I suggest you read the 1897 editorial piece above. On a final note; life is full of disillusionment. People can truly suck. We realize that as we age. Being let down is part of life. There is no reason to force it on a 7yr old.
Issy December 02, 2011 at 11:14 AM
The teacher made an honest mistake. However the way to deal with this is for the parents to have a quite word with the teacher, not to run to the press and compound the issue. Of course she was a liberal, conservatives do not understand the concept of giving to others (LOL).
Chrissy C December 02, 2011 at 01:10 PM
The spirit of Christmas is alive in the hearts of many who believe....in Santa. I still believe in Santa. The spirit of giving. His elves are everywhere. Parents need not worry about 'lying' to their children when the spirit of Santa is giving. The day will come, too soon, when your child is helping you load the toys for tots box and with a sparkling wink they say "the kids are going to love these toys from Saaanta". Be proud.
Katie Ryan O'Connor December 02, 2011 at 01:48 PM
Thank you for posting! This never gets old for me.
Robert Ward Kurkela December 02, 2011 at 02:00 PM
You're quite welcome, Katie. It is a timeless piece.
Don December 02, 2011 at 02:16 PM
Issy - Giving the wrong homework assignment is an honest mistake. For a teacher to do this, and not realize (or not care) about the disappointment to both the children and their parents is inexcusable. We have children in the Nanuet school, and pay a large amount in taxes. This teacher should be ashamed of herself (yes, it is a female), and should be reprimanded. Hopefully, the school controls this properly so it doesn't spread throughout the other classes.
Smitty Chesterfield December 02, 2011 at 02:24 PM
All of the students in her class should give her coal as a holiday gift.
Conservative NYer December 02, 2011 at 03:19 PM
Issy was a joke that you obviously did not get. As for conservatives not giving what do you base that comment on? Facts please. Oh yes I forgot liberals do give but they like to use other people's money beside their own.... LOL. As for that teacher I hope she gets a ton of flax from the tax paying parents in that school district.
Tom Spallone December 02, 2011 at 08:37 PM
If the teacher had informed the children that the Dead don't walk the earth on Halloween night, this wouldn't be an issue. She did just tell the truth. Granted, telling a fat person that they're fat is the truth albeit a tad antisocial. In my opinion, she should have left it alone and let beliefs which are cultivated in the home continue to be just that, beliefs, until the child chooses to think otherwise on their own accord. However, how can one justify dismissal? We're firing teachers for telling the truth now? Nanuet is still a top-notch school district as far as I'M concerned.
Issy December 02, 2011 at 09:19 PM
How can this be controlled now that the parents have made it a national issue? If the goal was to minimize the impact then what the parents have done by going to the press is reprehensible. And yes I agree, that teacher should be ashamed of herself, but this should also be put in perspective,
Issy December 02, 2011 at 09:33 PM
Oh I got the joke and made a much funnier one in return, did you not see the LOL? I based my comment on the fact that conservatives in Congress and Presidential Candidates would much rather 'rape and pillage' the working class and allow the less fortunate die through lack of health care (50,000 a year) than ask wealthy Americans to pay a little more. As a wealthy American I am happy to pay more for the betterment of my fellow countrymen, are you?
Conservative NYer December 02, 2011 at 11:26 PM
Definitely not grounds for dismissal but who in the heck gave her the moral compass to do so???? I am glad it made national headlines! I made it into a great tweet the day it happened. These teachers are just teachers and are not the parents of their students which seems to get blurred a lot these days. They sometimes forget where to draw the line in terms of teaching and parenting!
LisaTope December 03, 2011 at 01:27 PM
would love to know the teachers name :)
Tom Spallone December 03, 2011 at 11:02 PM
Probably a subject better left "off the table", like the other "belief" issues. Especially at that age, although it might be up for debate as to what age the brutal truth children should be exposed. Do we hold our parents in contempt for withholding the truth from us as children? Probably not. After-all, it is just a "white" lie. But, looking for the silver lining in this, perhaps the children in this class have been exposed to a early lesson in "Decision Making 101". One position of authority is telling them one thing and another position of authority is telling them the polar (sorry ;-)) opposite. Hopefully, this will give them a leg up on the decision making to shortly come in those rough years. And, perhaps add to a better adjusted adult? It's a stretch, I know but, one can dream.
Conservative NYer December 03, 2011 at 11:51 PM
It will eventually come out whether on The Drudge, via Tweet, FB or some other social networking site. I can only hope that she has learned her lesson and knows her role is that of a teacher and not a parent to every student who walks into her classroom. I also wonder if she has children of her own????? And if she doesn't, I wonder how she would feel if the same were done to her own children.
WR December 04, 2011 at 02:59 AM
I don't want to lie to them about Thanksgiving, Columbus Day, etc. But, since they are in elementary school, give them just enough facts to know things weren't as great as have been built up in myth (and holiday) and offer enough basis for more in-depth learning on these subjects in middle school. For Santa, I don't mind if they talk about the history of how that became an icon in the USA from varied, historical beginnings . . . but, there's no need to remove the myth in doing so. "Ask someone at home" is probably the most direct advice they might provide when asked if Santa is real or not by a student without breaking the bubble of expectation, in this case. I've explained the history of how Santa was recognized to my kids and didn't need to offer that in a way which said he's not a magical concept in the current day - my kids still like to believe in this innocent notion and that's fine with me, because it hurts no one and apparently offers benefits to them.
WR December 04, 2011 at 03:03 AM
What? I am rather liberal (ex-conservative, saw the light . . .) and still pay plenty of taxes for the wealthiest in this country to send upwards to themselves, rather than investing the the country's actual needs as was done in the 50s-70s, before Reagan sent it back into private hands (401Ks through the market for individuals instead of pensions? Brilliant! For the wealthiest investors). But, I never complain about my tax payments because we're all supposed to be in it together - and, we'll all fall together, as well if things continue moving back towards robber baron years. Still, I have taxes to pay. Only my conservative relatives complain about their individual taxes.
Conservative NYer December 04, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Congratulations story made it on: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/12/03/new-york-teacher-tells-kids-there-is-no-santa-claus/#ixzz1fYVRNwmH?test=latestnews Huffington Post and The NY Post!! http://www.nypost.com/p/news/local/no_santa_clod_so_sorry_FIZdIOcadOdhwf1n7UIxEL Way to go!!! This woman must be the most disliked teacher in the nation! And she deserves it too!! But am sorry to say that "she finally had to apologize for the epic blunder"..... Finally, really, REALLY!! It should NOT have taken her that long to apologize... If she was truly sorry she would have apologized right away. Absolute moron. She has received "Pinhead Status".
Mairebee December 06, 2011 at 11:24 PM
How cruel can one person be to do this to children? They have little enough of their childhood in these days without taking Santa away from them too.
Mairebee December 06, 2011 at 11:24 PM
Leatrice Eng. Just type in, "Nanuet teacher, Santa" and you'll see it all over the 'net.
Andrea LaMantia December 08, 2011 at 05:24 PM
I'm an elementary school teacher. If a young child were to ask me where babies come from, I would defer answering by saying, "We are not learning about that right now, perhaps it would be better to go home and ask your parent." In my opinion, the same principle could have been applied here.


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