The family of an African-American high school student in New Mexico says he's crushed after a teacher questioned why he was wearing Santa garb during a school holiday dress-up day last week, CNN affiliate KOAT reported.
The teacher told Christopher Rougier, a freshman at Cleveland High School, that he couldn't be Santa because Santa is white, the student's father, Michael, told KOAT.
"He was embarrassed," he told the station.
Now, his son doesn't want anything to do with Christmas.
Michael Rougier said the teacher called his wife to apologize, but that's not enough.
"He needs to be fired," Rougier told KOAT. "For him to make a comment like that, there has to be at a minimum prejudice in him, and we don't have room for that."
Kim Vesely, the director of Rio Rancho Public Schools, released a statement to media about the incident.
"This situation involves a teacher recently hired by Cleveland High who made -- and admits he made -- a stupid mistake," the director said. "The remark was inappropriate and should not have been made. The teacher feels very badly about what occurred. He self-reported the incident to the principal and has apologized to the student and to the student's parent. Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken."
The boy's family has asked that he be moved out of the teacher's class, and the school has complied, Vesely said.