Should teachers lie to students and encourage lying among students?

With the holidays fast approaching, I am reminded of when I was a student in primary school. Students were lied to by teachers about the existence of Santa. Students were also reprimanded for saying there is no Santa. Why should teachers encourage a lie? Schools should be a place of learning and we don’t need teachers lying to students. Why do we allow this lie to continue to be taught in our school?

Lying is not the equivalent of withholding information. Most teachers withhold pertinent information from children because they are not capable of comprehending the context surrounding the idea or even the basic principles of the idea.

In the case of Santa Claus, the reasoning behind the fabrication is two-fold. Firstly, it is part of the capitalist machine that has made the purported birth of Jesus Christ into a month-long shopping spree. Secondly, it is injected in order to create an aura of magic and joy into a child’s life around that time of year.

Christmas would not be the same for most people if you knew that your parents were giving you gifts (not some all knowing and all good jolly grandfather figure cough…GOD…cough).

Finally it might just be used to fool naive children into behaving in order to receive positive reinforcement on Christmas day.

All in all, lying about insignificant tales such as Santa of the tooth fairy is nothing compares to the brainwashing our children receive in almost every classroom in the world (including the USA).


Teachers don’t just withhold information about Santa not existing, they actively lie to students and say he does exist.

Yes, Oktberfest…there IS a Santa Claus.

I’d like to focus a little on this point.
What should be done to a kid that tells another there is no santa?
Punish them for not lying?

When I was in school, in first grade we wrote Christmas lists to Santa (probably frowned upon now, as it’s a Christian holiday). By second grade I remember the first grumblings of “there is no Santa Claus”. If you asked a teacher, they would just shrug.

What do you mean Santa doesn’t exist ? Who gave me all those presents !? Oh cynical world we live in !

I go with bri1600bv on this one… by the time they are in school the word is out on Santa. Most children understand its not a “bad” lie either.

Maybe now days, but not in the early 60’s. There were kids that were in the 2nd grade that still believed in Santa.

I was raised in a religion that didn’t observe Christmas. My siblings and I took great delight in telling other kids there was no Santa, and explaining how there couldn’t possibly be. Cripes, my brother had half his elementary school crying. This seems really, really mean now, but hey, when you’re 7 and you have dangerous knowledge:D

We’d get yelled at by the teachers, and once they sent a letter home about it. My old man would always fire back “you’re not punishing my kids for telling the truth”, and any demerits we got were rescinded.

But at home we’d really get screamed at to keep our damn mouths shut!:stuck_out_tongue:

I’m sorry, but is there any evidence that this sort of thing is happening at all now? I’m not sure that “They lied to me about Santa Claus when I was a kid!!” is really Great Debates material.

Science is necessarily simplified, often without disclaimers; evolution or creationism are taught as facts; children are encouraged with white lies; smaller children are told fairy stories… do these count?

Most places call this learning.

It seems to me that most cultures have childhood fables or myths or whatever that the adults connive at. This is not a new or unique situation; only treating it out of context, as a modern phenomenon, is.

This is one instance in which I think it’s best just to maintain the tradition and not try to squeese it through a modern filter.

In other words, you’re asking for a universal standard of dealing with this “issue” in a school setting, which is just asking for trouble. Let each classroom deal with the tradition in their own way.

If I were a first grade teacher, and I had a kid telling the other kids there was no SC, I’d treat him/like I’d treat any other bully. I wouldn’t instruct him to lie, but I’d admonish him for deliberately trying to hurt the other children. I’d certainly discuss it with his parents and let them decide what to do about his behavior. In any case, my point is that I’d focus on the behavior, not on the weapon, as it were.

What if it wasn’t deliberate? What if was just trying to spread knowledge, or converse, or one-up someone, but was too young to realise that it might hurt the other children?

If it wasn’t deliberate, I’d explain that some of the children still believe in Santa Claus, and that he should allow them to do so; if he does it again, he goes in the corner.

What if a kid was telling everyone that clouds are not made of cotton candy. Some of the kids might believe this and finding out it is not true might hurt them. Would you punish a kid for saying clouds are not made of cotton candy? Why punish a kid for spreading knowledge?

What if all my spine was prehensile? Could I wear my ass for a hat?

Circle on back to my first post re: the stupidity of trying to come up with a general LAW that leaves no loopholes, and the importance of local handling of tradition.

I think lying should be encouraged in the schools. After all, we live in an inherently dishonest world in which manipulation and mendacity are rewarded. The earlier the students realize this, and hone their skills of deceit, the more prepared they will be to live in the world, and the more successful they will be at navigating its treacherous waters. After all, any one of them may be an important entrepreneur, or a radio broadcaster, or, heck, even President. Why would you want to handicap them?

Schools promote the lie out of respect for the lies of the parents. The real question, I think, is whether parents should be playing up the Santa Claus myth. Personally, I don’t see the point – better to teach them to find wonder and awe in the world that’s actually around them.