"Black Santa" Speaks Out

By NBC News

Published 12/17 2013 04:02PM

Updated 12/17 2013 04:36PM

(KOB) A Rio Rancho, New Mexico teacher is on paid leave for comments he made to a black student dressed as Santa Claus.

The NAACP calls the comment offensive, but adds that everyone makes mistakes and is urging people to go easy on the teacher, who has apologized to the family.

Colin Pearman is an African American who has dedicated the past ten years to putting on the Santa suit as a volunteer in Albuquerque. He says he is not sure what the punishment should be for the teacher.

He says children ask him many questions, but he has never been asked about his race.

"Kids are just happy to see Santa. Santa Claus can be any color he wants to be," said Pearman, letting out a jolly laugh.

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