Fifteen students from Mrs. Griffth's first grade class at Headland Heights Elementary School have begun an Occupy Christmas protest outside their classroom when they discovered what they say is one percent of their class who receive every present off their Christmas list each year.
The students have set up tents in the hallways where they remain for the whole school day or until the bell rings and Mrs. Griffth sends them to the principal's office for insubordination.
“Mrs. Grittth said we're making a mess in the hallway,” Kyle Rooter said. “I see it as standing up for my Christmas rights. I want everything on my list this year like Frank Timons.”
Timons is the only student in a class of 30 who received everything he asked Santa for last Christmas.
“Do I realize that one out of 30 is not one percent? No lady I'm only in first grade. I'm not even sure what a percent is. I do know Frank [Timons] parents must pay Santa off though,” Rooter said.
Many students feel Timons parents are paying Santa off because they own the local mall and two stores downtown.
“It's easy to see Frank's parents are making backdoor deals with Santa. They say if Santa gets Frank everything he wants, they'll let him shop for free at all their stores,” Rooter said.
Many children have also noticed their gifts come from the mall or stores the Timons own like the local Dollar General.
|Occupiers, Jillian Heffsteller (right) and Amanda Scrantino stand in |
protest of Santa's unfair gift giving practices
“Frank Timons got a Wii last year as well as five brand new games, a remote control firetruck and a brand new pair of Nike shoes that blink red and blue lights when he walks,” Jillian Hoffsteller said.
Heffsteller said she only got a new dress and a doll from Santa.
“The doll I got was clearly from the dollar store,” Heffsteller said. “I ask you where's my Wii? Where's my new pair of Nike shoes? I guess my mom's job at the Wal-Mart doesn't make enough to payoff the man in the big red suit.”
Another student, Gregory Froster said he had a “much worser” Christmas than Heffsteller.
“She at least got a doll. The only presents I got from Santa were in my stocking, a pair of socks and a frosty PEZ dispenser,” Froster said. “Clearly I got nothing off my Christmas list.”
Timons denies his classmates accusations.
“I have just been a good boy all year. If they tried being nice instead of protesting all day long, they might get all their presents as well,” Timons said. “My parents don't pay anyone off.”
Heffsteller denies Timons has been good all year long.
“Last year in Kindergarten he pulled on one of my pigtails so hard that I started to cry. Timons can do whatever he wants and still get all his presents, there's money involved,” Heffsteller said.
Furthermore some students say they have been better than Timons but still have not received a Christmas with a full list of presents.
“I was a lot nicer than Frank last year,” Rooter said. “I never pulled on Jill's pigtails and I got student of the month twice in a row.”
The Occupy Christmas movement has been gaining support as seven fifth graders, three kindergarteners and 10 fourth graders have joined their cause.
Yesterday third grader Josh Stewart, a Jewish student, joined because he said Santa has yet to even visit him.
Also several parents have put their support behind their students packing them extra snacks and giving them ice cream money.
“My dad said it's about time the Timons got what's coming to them,” Froster said. “He's been mad at Frank's mom and dad ever since they laid him off last year.”
Froster's father was one of five people laid off from the mall's security department and has yet to find a job.
“My dad said he has a few Christmas presents he'd like to give them as well. I'm not sure what that means. If Frank is getting all the presents he wants, I'm sure his parents are too,” Froster said.
Other students admit they too did not receive their full Christmas lists last year but think the Occupy Christmas movement is out of hand.
“Just go to class and learn and get good grades then you can eventually earn enough points and be put on Santa's extremely good kid list and get all your presents,” Sarah Frenner said. “It's called hard work, that's how you earn all your deserved presents.”
Mrs. Griffth said she is just frustrated because it interferes with her work day and creates more work as the janitor ends up cleaning up after the student's mess.
“If it's not candy wrappers than it's their signs they leave behind when in detention,” Griffth said. “Then last Friday they tried to start a fire to stay warm in the drafty hallway. Just come inside the classroom and learn.”
Griffth has tried to force the students to come into the classroom but said it just created more chaos.
“I had students drag in their Barbie tents and camp out underneath my desk. While some of the others stood in the back and marched back and forth all day,” Griffth said. “This is the last year I ask the students what Santa brought them for Christmas last year.”
The occupiers say they are not going anywhere until Santa listens to their demands.
“We may have to stay here all year,” Heffsteller said. “Even if it takes until next Christmas, I'm not moving an inch.”