An article saying that a 9-year-old student in San Francisco was suspended for saying “Merry Christmas” to an “outspoken Atheist teacher” named Paul Horner is a satire–published on satire news site National Report.
“Timothy Dawson, a 9-year-old student at Argon Elementary School in San Francisco, CA., was in the school cafeteria Monday eating with friends when he was taken to the principal’s office and given a week-long suspension. His punishment was consequence for saying ‘Merry Christmas’ to his homeroom teacher earlier that morning,” the article reads.
The National Report has a disclaimer that has been deleted which reads: “National Report is a news and political satire web publication, which may or may not use real names, often in semi-real or mostly fictitious ways. All news articles contained within National Report are fiction, and presumably fake news. Any resemblance to the truth is purely coincidental.”
The disclaimer can be accessed via Archive.org.
On the National Report’s Facebook page earlier this month, the admin of the site responds to a commenter that “you’re not alone on that one … its the ppl who don’t get it that are such a joy to [mess] with. TY.”
It’s also worth keeping in mind that no mainstream media outlets have covered this story.
Despite the article being a hoax, a large number of people appeared to believe it.
At the bottom of the “Merry Christmas” article, it even offered a Change.org petition, and a fake Gmail account for Horner, asking people to send him a “Merry Christmas” e-mail.
“Sounds like the school may be intimidated by this douchebag teacher. So the children have to live by his lack of beliefs but they can’t have any of there own. He obviously doesn’t care about kids so why be a teacher,” reads one comment.
Another added: “If a 9 year old can offend a teacher with words, then I believe that Teacher needs to find a new occupation. I am not offended by other peoples religious views, I just pray for them.”
The National Report has published a number of satire articles that have gone viral, including one about a fake “Assam Rape Festival,” that incensed a number of people in the Indian state.