A cleaner at a Highland primary school is facing disciplinary action after telling pupils that Santa Claus is not real – and in fact “is Satan”.
Parents of youngsters attending Glencoe Primary complained to staff about the “distressing and upsetting” incident at the school on Tuesday afternoon.
Highland Council initially said that a probe was being carried out, and later confirmed “appropriate action” had been taken, without saying what that action was.
The woman has not been back to work this week, but there has been no confirmation whether she has been suspended, sacked, relocated, or will be allowed to return to work. A source said she remains under suspension.
The council spokeswoman said: “We have investigated a complaint which occurred outwith the school and the appropriate action has been taken.”
One parent described how children were left deeply upset following the incident, which came as pupils were growing more excited about Christmas.
He said that while it may have happened outwith school hours, children were still playing at the school between 4-5pm and the cleaner was still working.
He added: “As you can imagine, all the children were upset, both as to what had been said, but extremely confused as to why.
“This happened on Tuesday, whilst the cleaner was working. The matter has been raised with the school and escalated to council human resources.”
There was allegedly around half a dozen children involved and most of them, the parent added, still believe in Santa Claus.
He said: “The ‘Santa is Satan’ remark was made after one of the kids said they were looking forward to Christmas and Santa coming.
“Myself and one of the other parents formally complained to the school and Highland Council.
“I have spoken to the headteacher and they say they are taking the appropriate action.”
He added: “It is just so sad it affected the kids. it is bad enough any time of year to say something like that, but just before Christmas?
“Someone in a position of trust should know what is and isn’t appropriate to say to children – even if telling the children Santa isn’t real wasn’t bad enough, but to refer to him as Satan.”
Another parent, who also did not wish to be identified, said mums and dads tried to console the upset pupils immediately afterwards.
The parent said: “My child was told Santa was not real and was Satan. It was completely unnecessary.
“It is such a shame to upset children in the last few days of Christmas, and leaving parents to pick up afterwards.”
The council spokeswoman added: “We have investigated a complaint which occurred out with the school and the appropriate action has been taken.”