AMARILLO, TX— A Monday incident outside an Amarillo elementary school involving a local "Grinch" stirred a mix of concern, outrage, and support across social media platforms. The individual, identified as 63-year-old David Grisham, held a sign asserting that Santa Claus isn't real, marking a recurrence of similar actions by the self-proclaimed "street preacher."
According to posts and videos circulating on social media, Grisham, dressed as the Grinch, brandished a sign stating "Santa is fake, Jesus is real" near the drop-off area of Sleepy Hollow Elementary School. Images showed Grisham engaged in discussions with law enforcement officers and facing confrontation from displeased parents. A video captured a parent seizing Grisham's sign and tossing it to the ground.
Following the incident, Sleepy Hollow officials denounced Grisham's appearance as "unwanted and uninvited," affirming no affiliation with the school. Law enforcement responded to the scene, reporting no significant injuries or imminent danger beyond escalated tensions between parents and the unexpected presence of the "Grinch."
Grisham later took to social media, alleging an assault by a parent and vandalism of his sign. He criticized the police for impeding his First Amendment rights during the incident.
"Hundreds of children and many parents heard the message," Grisham wrote in a social media post. "It's indicative of a troubled society to go to such lengths to protect a lie and shield kids from the truth."
Grisham has courted controversy in and around Amarillo since 2010 as the leader of "Repent Amarillo", also recognized as "God and Country" and "Last Front Evangelist." His history includes organizing a boycott against Houston after the election of openly LGBTQ+ mayor Annise Parker and attempting a public Quran burning in an Amarillo park in the same year, as reported by MyHighPlains.com. Grisham gained further attention by orchestrating a mock execution of Santa Claus at a firing range, also documented by MyHighPlains.com.
However, Grisham became synonymous with the "Grinch" moniker in 2016. After "Repent Amarillo" was designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, Grisham confronted families at Westgate Mall, asserting to children that Santa Claus does not exist, leading to a heated altercation.
Following the viral 2016 incident, Grisham reportedly extended his act to North Pole, Alaska, as documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
In 2023, Grisham announced plans to take his "Grinch" persona on a nationwide tour, intending to spread the anti-Santa message across various regions of the country.
In the aftermath of the recent Amarillo school incident, Grisham's "For God and Country" social media pages disclosed intentions to visit other parts of the country to disseminate the same anti-Santa message.
"The Grinch is going on the road," read Grisham's social media announcement on Tuesday. "The success of preaching as the Grinch to kids at elementary schools has prompted Official Street Preachers to begin a nationwide tour starting the first week of December."