Metro

Saugus school superintendent receives death threats after Santa dispute, board member says

The superintendent of schools in Saugus has received death threats over his order -- which he later reversed -- banning Santa Claus from visiting local schools, a school committee member said.

School superintendent Richard Langlois canceled a long-held tradition of firefighters dressing like Santa and visiting schools because he believed it conflicted with a policy banning the celebration of religious holidays in public schools.

But on Monday, he reversed this decision, allowing Santa to make his regularly scheduled trips.

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Despite that, he’s received threats, said committee member Joseph S. Malone.

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“It’s a shame that an incident like this should blow up the way it has,” said Malone, adding that he believes police are investigating the threats. “Death threats -- that’s just appalling.”

Malone praised Langlois’s performance as school superintendent, noting the town’s rising test scores.

“It’s kind of a sad day for the entire town of Saugus,” he said.

Neither Langlois nor Saugus police immediately returned messages seeking comment this morning.

Jaime Lutz can be reached at jaime.lutz@globe.com.