Three days before Christmas, Strath Haven High School suspended a student who wore a Santa suit to school.

Bah, humbug!

Senior Michael Hance said that three weeks ago he told principal MaryJo Yannacone that he planned to wear the suit. He said she laughed and didn't think he was serious.

Last Thursday, he told her again that he wanted to wear the suit and hand out candy canes, he said.

She told him it wasn't a good idea because it would be a distraction and candy canes could make students sick, Hance said.

On Friday, the school dean called Hance to his office and told him he couldn't wear the suit.

"I said OK, but then I decided to do it," Hance, 18, said. "I think it was messed up that I wasn't allowed."

Yannacone and Rudolph C. Rubeis, superintendent of the Wallingford-Swarthmore School District, did not return phone calls seeking comment, so it's not known whether the school dress code contains a Santa clause.

But Strath Haven issued a statement saying the principal "felt that the student would be disruptive when dressed as Santa, and therefore had the dean notify the student and his parent in advance that he was not permitted to wear the suit. When the student arrived at school wearing the suit, he was suspended for the day for defiance of authority."

Hance said he got nabbed five minutes after he walked into his first class. He was upset that school officials didn't ask him to take off the suit - he wore street clothes underneath - before suspending him.

He's also mad that he's out $28 for the suit.

But Hance, who said he loves to clown around and plans to join the Navy after graduation, might wear the suit again today to a friend's house.

"I love Christmas," he said. "The giving and the receiving."

Though receiving a suspension wasn't so great.

"I don't think it was fair," he said. "They could have just given me a detention."