Story by the Associated Press; curated by Dave Urbanski
RIO RANCHO, N.M. (AP) — A New Mexico high school teacher has been disciplined after a parent says the man told his black son that Santa Claus is white.
Officials at the school in Rio Rancho, about 15 miles north of Albuquerque, announced Friday that the teacher recently was disciplined for his comments to the student, but they declined to say how, KOB-TV reported.
The move came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.
Michael Rougier said his ninth-grade son, Christopher, arrived wearing a Santa hat and beard, and the teacher asked the student: "Don't you know Santa Claus is white? Why are you wearing that?"
The teacher's name was not released, and attempts by The Associated Press to reach school officials Saturday were unsuccessful.
Michael Rougier said the teacher's comments enraged him.
"There's no room for that in the classroom," he said. "Whether this teacher felt Christopher may have been wearing this out of context, there's no room for it. There's just no room for it."
The incident happened the same week that Fox News Channel's Megyn Kelly said on the air that both Santa Claus and Jesus were white. Her comments drew national attention and prompted a slew of heated comments on blogs and social media sites.
A spokesman for Rio Rancho Public Schools said the Cleveland High School teacher knows he made a "dumb" mistake and has since apologized to the Rougier family.
KOB interviewed an unidentified person who said of the teacher, "If he has that attitude, how is it affecting students, studies, grading habits, trending toward Caucasian kids?"
Christopher now doesn’t want to put the costume back on, KOB reported, adding that he felt ashamed and embarrassed.
“If it's not for parents like me that's part of interracial families to say, it's time to stop this... it's time to stop. I have to fight for my boys,” Rougier said.
The teacher still works at Cleveland, but Christopher has been removed from his class, KOB-TV reported.
Here's a report from KOB-TV: