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Student in Santa suit is suspended from school

Michael Hance, a high school senior in Wallingford, Pa., defies an order to refrain from wearing the outfit. The principal sends him home for the day, calling the get-up a distraction.

December 25, 2009|Mcclatchy Newspapers

Philadelphia — Three days before Christmas, Strath Haven High School in Wallingford, Pa., suspended a student who wore a Santa suit to school.

Senior Michael Hance said that three weeks ago, he told Principal MaryJo Yannacone that he planned to wear the suit. He said she laughed and didn't think he was serious.

He told her again last week that he wanted to wear the suit and hand out candy canes, he said.

She told him that it wasn't a good idea because it would be a distraction and candy canes could make students sick, Hance said.

Last Friday, the school dean called Hance, 18, to his office and told him he couldn't wear the suit.

"I said OK, but then I decided to do it," Hance said. "I think it was messed up that I wasn't allowed."

Yannacone and Rudolph C. Rubeis, superintendent of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, did not return phone calls seeking comment.

But Strath Haven issued a statement saying the principal "felt that 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. When the student arrived at school wearing the suit, he was suspended for the day for defiance of authority."

Hance said he got nabbed five minutes after walking into his first class Tuesday. He was upset that school officials didn't ask him to take off the suit -- he wore street clothes underneath -- before suspending him.

He's also mad that he's out $28 for the suit.

But Hance, who said he loves to clown around and plans to join the Navy after graduation, might wear the suit again to a friend's house.

"I love Christmas," he said. "The giving and the receiving."

Though receiving a suspension wasn't so great.

"I don't think it was fair," he said. "They could have just given me a detention."

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