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December 23, 2005

Santa is dead, and some really want to share that information

First, there were the Santa hangings, and now, a substitute teacher believes it is her duty to inform children that Santa Claus is not alive, or at least not what they think he is.

Reasoning that "it goes against [substitute teacher Theresa Farrisi's] conscience to teach something which [she] know[s] to be false to children", Miss Farrisi took it upon herself to inform her music class, composed of young elementary school children, that the Santa they know and love does not exist. The man he is based on was born centuries ago, but she insists she "did not tell the students Santa Claus was dead,” something even a six-year old can figure out with a little information. Some of these students came home with tears in their eyes and a great deal of grief.

While no one over the age of ten can claim that Santa Claus really exists, one has to wonder why Farrisi decided to take it upon herself to inform these students. Santa Claus brings a sense of wonder and magic to this holiday for many children, and gives many children more for their imagination as well as their hopes. And as far as I know, I have never heard of a child reacting negatively when told later in life that Santa Claus does not exist.

While it appears that all harm has been healed, this teacher took it upon herself to override the authority of these parents and to hurt the feelings of all the children in her class (did she really think they would leave feel enlightened?). She also has placed these parents in two situations; currently, they had to deal with the pain that their children suffered, and in resolving that issue, they will likely be faced with an issue in a few years time when they reveal that Santa is a story. While the Northern Lebanon school system has no policy directly addressing Santa Claus, I imagine they must have some sort of policy regarding emotional damage done to students. Theresa Farrisi needs to learn that she does not hold ultimate moral authority over these children, and unless the parents are causing serious harm to their children, she should keep her nose out of the business of others.