'Fake Santa' at School Identified; School Staff React Quickly

By: Clare Kaley Email
By: Clare Kaley Email
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Police have identified the man who, dressed as Santa Claus, handed out Beanie Babies to elementary school students on the playground Monday.

He's a Salvation Army bell ringer who was on his way home and stopped to give the toys to kids at recess. As he rings bells, he hands out those Beanie Babies to people who make donations. Police say they explained to the man that even if he didn't have bad intentions, it could look that way to the school.

The school's principal says his staff knew just what to do.

"Our program supervisor collected the beanie babies, asked the gentleman to leave, gave the beanie babies back," explained Principal Jon Euting, "he left and the kids went on with their recess."

Letters, emails and voice mails were sent to parents explaining what happened. Principal Euting says while they've never had an incident quite like this one, it should serve as a reminder to children, and their parents, to have the conversation about what to do when approached by a stranger.

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