HE is a mythical figure from European folklore who is meant to bring good dreams to children by sprinkling magical sand into their eyes while they sleep at night.
But an Aberdeenshire primary school has had to issue a public apology to parents after a Halloween screening of an animated version of “The Sandman” left their children having nightmares.
A cartoon version of the Sandman legend, nominated for an Oscar for best animated short film in 1993, was screened earlier this week for Primary three pupils at Kintore Primary, aged six and seven, as part of their classroom Halloween celebrations.
But some of the pupils were said to have been left upset and in tears after the screening of the movie in which The Sandman is portrayed as a menacing, raptor-like human figure with a huge, hooked nose and chin who steals a young boy’s eyeballs in the dead of night to feed to his tiny, hideous progeny.
Parents have now received an apology after complaining to the school’s head teacher about the scary screening.
One mother said her daughter was “very upset” and that her husband had to sleep in the child’s bedroom to comfort her. She added: “She just keeps saying she’s scared and doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Another parent said: “Our son has never been scared much of anything really, but he’s been genuinely upset all day and scared to go to sleep.
“He is in no way a ‘cry baby’. I would be the first parent to say ‘get over it son, it’s just a stupid movie’ – but this is not what I send him to school for.”
Other parents at Kintore Primary phoned the school, demanding that “The Sandman” should not be shown to their children.
Kintore Primary has now written to the parents of the 24 pupils affected to apologise.
And a spokesman for Aberdeenshire Council said: “While this Oscar-nominated short animated film is recognised as an educational resource, we do not believe it was entirely suitable for some of the children who watched it.
“A small section at the start of the film was used to stimulate a writing project, but the teacher agreed when children asked her to let them watch the rest, as they had enjoyed the small clip.”
He added: ““The school has written to the parents of the 24 or so pupils who watched it, apologising for the error of judgment and for any upset it caused.”