Teacher put on paid leave following racist Santa remarks

Updated: 12/16/2013 1:06 PM | Created: 12/15/2013 7:17 PM
By: Jeffery Gordon and Elizabeth Reed,

A Rio Rancho teacher accused of making racist remarks toward an African American student has been put on paid administrative leave.

Rio Rancho Public Schools confirmed the teacher has been put on paid administrative leave and did not return to the classroom on Monday.

The story has received national attention since KOB Eyewitness News 4 broke it on Friday.

Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho allowed students to dress as Christmas characters. Christopher Rougier, who is African American, dressed up as Santa Claus.

The boy's father, Michael Rougier, told KOB that a teacher approached the freshman and said, "Don't you know Santa Claus is white?"

Rio Rancho Public Schools says the teacher has apologized to the family and was put on paid administrative leave pending an internal investigation. The boy was removed from the classroom at his family's request. 

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