The "childhood innocence of the holiday season" has been snatched away from a bunch of elementary school students, a New Jersey principal laments—and it's all because of a substitute teacher gone rogue. Not since the Elf Foreman told Hermey that elves couldn't be dentists has there been such a "bah humbug" moment, per CBS News, which reports on the incident at Montville's Cedar Hill School, where a sub told first-graders that Santa wasn't real and their parents are the ones putting presents under the tree. But she wasn't done there, adding that "reindeer can't fly," "elves are not real," and "Elf on the Shelf is just a pretend doll that your parents move around," distressed mom Lisa Simek wrote on Facebook, noting that the teacher tried to "crush our 6-year-old's spirit."
The Tooth Fairy and Easter Bunny also had their covers blown, and the sub told kids that "magic does not exist," Simek adds, noting she and fellow parents had to do "damage control." The substitute was reprimanded for her "poor judgment," Principal Michael Raj says, per CBS, while the district's superintendent said in a statement she was "troubled" and "disheartened" by what had transpired. The Christmas spirit, however, still abounds: A high school teacher in Toms River has recruited her class to write letters from the North Pole to the first-graders, per Simek, who adds she doesn't want anyone being mean to the sub. "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," she writes. (An orchestra conductor pulled a similar stunt after a performance of Frozen.)