Race row clouds school dress-up day

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African-American Santa Claus Langston Patterson (left) poses with four-month-old Raelyn Price and her grandmother Gloria Boissiere at the Baldwin Hills Crenshaw Plaza mall in Los Angeles, California. A New Mexico teacher who told an African-American student that Santa Claus was white has been put on paid administrative leave, an official said on Monday. Picture: Lucy Nicholson

Rio Rancho, New Mexico -

A New Mexico teacher who told a black student that Santa Claus is white has been placed on paid administrative leave.

Kim Vesely, a spokeswoman for the school district in suburban Albuquerque, confirmed on Tuesday that the teacher is out of the classroom while the incident is being investigated.

The teacher's comments came after students at Cleveland High School were told they could come to class dressed as Santa, an elf or a reindeer.

Michael Rougier says when his son, Christopher, arrived with a Santa hat and beard, the teacher asked: “Don't you know Santa Claus is white? Why are you wearing that?” Sapa-AP

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