Student Santa gets suspended

December 23, 2009 18-year-old Michael Hance said he wanted to spread holiday cheer by dressing up as Santa at school, though he admits he was warned otherwise. So when he walked into Strath Haven High Tuesday morning as Old St. Nick he found himself square on the school's naughty list.

Donning the famous red suit he bought just for the occasion Michael thought Santa Claus was coming to Strath Haven High but instead he was quickly sent home even though he says the school permitted costumes for Student Council members.

"There were elves and reindeer and they didn't get suspended."

He explains he took the hat off during class and left the beard at home but admits school officials who caught wind of the plan last week warned him not to wear even the recognizable red suit. He says his day-long suspension was for disobeying the rules though his mother added she wasn't aware of one on the books that banned Father Christmas.

"I don't know what the harm was. It's a Santa Claus costume. That's all it was," said Barbara Hance.

True, there's no clause about Santa Claus but school rules do state that administrators will exercise judgment and any mode of dress that distracts or disrupts the teaching-learning process is unacceptable.

"I don't really think this is a distraction. Me- why not- him- because you can wear a red jump suit to school."

He added that he wasn't given the option to change into normal clothes he was just told to leave. Even with no past suspensions, hoping this incident won't tarnish his record Michael confided that he'll be retiring his Santa suit and re-thinking his plans for Easter. Mom agrees.

"If Santa doesn't work I don't think the Easter bunny will either ."

On Wednesday, Strath Haven High School released on a statement on the incident.

"Strath Haven High School's dress code states that an adminsitrator will exercise judgment in cases regarding student dress," the statement reads.

The statement goes on to say the principal felt the student would be disruptive when dressed as Santa, "and therefore had the dean notify the student and his parent in advance that he was not permitted to wear the suit."

The student was then suspended fior the day after arriving to the school wearing the suit, the district says.

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