Mom Says Teacher's 'Elf Murder Mystery' Left Kids 'Traumatized' & Went too Far

elf on the shelf murder mystery

Figuring out the perfect spot to put your Elf on the Shelf can be half of the fun for adults, but one school from Hyde, England, might have taken its creative planning a little too far. Fourth-graders at Flowery Field Primary School walked into their classroom on Tuesday only to find that their assignment for the day was to solve the mystery of who killed their beloved elf. The "murder scene" was perhaps a little too realistic and included "blood" as well as a "chalk outline" of the victim, and now one parent is calling for an end to the assignment because it traumatized her daughter.

  • It all started on Tuesday, when elementary school students walked into their classroom and were surprised with a murder mystery.

    As the Manchester Evening News reported, the assignment was meant to be a fun, Christmas-themed, writing assignment for the 8- and 9-year-old students. Just for the day, the classroom was the scene of a crime, complete with fake blood, turned over tables, and even an elf-shaped chalk outline.

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  • But one mom says that the activity was not all fun and games. She claims that the assignment gave her daughter nightmares. 

    The mom, who wished not to be named in the article, explained that the crime details had done some serious damage to her daughter.

    "The idea was Elf had been murdered by another elf," she said. "My daughter came home and she was absolutely traumatized."

  • The mom said that she's not the only parent who felt this way. "A lot of the kids in Year 4 were unsettled by it."

    The mom explained that she's not naive. "I am very open with my children and I understand you can't protect them from everything. But my child was very upset last night and had to sleep in my bed."

  • However, Ian Fell, headteacher of Flowery Field, spoke out about the mom's claims that the activity was harmful. 

    "The children were all excited and they really did buy into it," the teacher explained, though he did push back against claims that the assignment was upsetting to the kids. 

    "Of all of the 90 children who took part, none of them showed anything but full engagement," he said. "One of the children said to me 'I am definitely being a detective when I grow up.'"

  • In the end, Fell argued, the school feels like the exercise is nothing but beneficial for the students, including its kids with special needs.

    Fell explained that the topic was appealing to all of the fourth-graders, including kids with SEND (Special Educational Needs and Difficulties) difficulties "or those who find accessing work more difficult too."

    "I have been a teacher for 30 years and this is, in my judgement, an appropriate, engaging and exciting thing that children aged 8 and 9 have done. They have been so up for it," he said.

    The school said it has no plans for pulling the activity from the children's curriculum because of its unwavering belief in the activity.

    "I am really looking forward to see the quality of the outcomes. We are not trying to keep this a secret and we will be Tweeting about the rest of exercise today," Fell said.