06/12/2011 07:00 GMT

Teacher Tells Class Father Christmas Isn't Real (VIDEO)

'Tis the season to be sorry after a teacher apologised after telling her class of seven-year-old pupils Father Christmas didn't exist - three weeks before the man in red is due to visit.

Leatrice Ann Eng, a 58-year-old teacher in New York, was forced to call each of the children's parents and say sorry for telling her pupils the ugly truth. Eng was conducting a lesson on the North Pole when a student announced that it was "where Santa Claus lived".

According to papers in New York, the teacher promptly corrected the child, telling her class Father Christmas did not exist and it was in fact their parents who left presents in their stockings.

Furious parents have dubbed Eng, who teaches at the George Miller Elementary School in Nanuet, New York a "real-life Scrooge".

Irene Hoffman, a mother of three, said it was "sad" and "wrong" but added the incident had been "blown out of proportion".

"I think we should focus on our children's education and just move on".