December 16, 2013 5:21 pm -

Cleveland High School students in Rio Rancho, NM, were asked to dress up as Christmas characters, but when a black student went as Santa, the teacher told him that Santa has to be white.

[His] parents said the incident has ruined Christmas for their son. They said he no longer wants to decorate the tree, something he’s always enjoyed doing.

The parents said they’re not happy with how the school has handled things, and said no one from the school notified them when the incident happened. They claim they had to learn about it from other parents.

The teen’s parents want him to enjoy Christmas again the way he use to and realize Santa’s ethnicity should not matter.

“(Santa Claus is) Asian, he’s Mexican, he’s German, whatever country and whatever society that celebrates Christmas like we do. In our family, you got Miss Claus, who is black and Santa Claus is white. I just want him to be back to the Christopher that was bouncing off the walls about Christmas,” said the boy’s parent.

The district said the teacher admitted to making a “stupid” mistake and reported himself to the school. The district said the teacher has been disciplined but would not say how.