Bah humbug: District may fire teacher for taking time off to be Santa, petition claims

RICHBURG, S.C. — A local Santa Claus whose full-time job is a science teacher asked the school for some time off this Christmas season so he could make some extra cash as St. Nick.

However, district officials said that could lead to his termination, according to an online petition created by his supporters.

“He looks like Santa Claus,” Barbara Westbrook said of Timothy Davis, who teaches at Lewisville Middle School in Richburg, South Carolina. “You’ll see him as he walks out of the school with his white-bearded hair.”

Westbrook said Davis has taught science to both of her grandkids at Lewisville Middle.

“My granddaughter, Madison, came home from school this past Monday saying, ‘My teacher is being fired,’” Westbrook said. “I thought, ‘Why?’ She said because he wants to take time off to be Santa Claus.”

The online petition claims Davis reached out to district leaders in July to tell them about an opportunity to make some more money.

He wants to be Santa from Nov. 27 until Christmas Eve, but he would need time off from teaching.

Davis got a notice from school leaders that he’d be terminated if he took the Santa job, according to the petition.

“I feel like good teachers need to be held onto,” said parent Emily Garcia. “They just had a job fair this past week, because there are teacher shortages.”

A statement from Chester County Schools said, “The district is unable to comment on specific staff-related personnel requests due to privacy laws. However, as it relates to staff leave and absences, the district follows protocols as established by board policy. We can, however, confirm that Mr. Davis is still employed with the district.”

Garcia is one of nearly 3,000 people who have signed the petition.

She wants leaders to show the science Santa some grace this Christmas season.

“My daughter’s third-grade teacher was a waitress and teachers already take their work home,” Garcia said. “I think teachers need more community support.”

Davis declined an interview with Channel 9.

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