… for serious and delusional stupidity and this time, by all involved parties:
An 8-year-old boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and came up with what appeared to be a stick figure of Jesus on a cross, the child’s father said Tuesday.
Chester Johnson told WBZ-TV that his son made the drawing on Dec. 2 after his second-grade teacher asked children to sketch something that reminded them of the holiday.
Johnson said the teacher became upset when his son said he drew himself on the cross. Johnson, who is black, told WBZ he suspects racism is involved. He said he thinks the school overreacted and wants an apology.
Johnson told the Taunton Daily Gazette, which first reported the story on Tuesday, that his son gets specialized reading and speech instruction and has never been violent in school.
An educational consultant working with the Johnson family said the teacher was also alarmed when the boy drew Xs for Jesus’ eyes.
A call to Johnson was not immediately returned.
Teacher stupid. Father stupid.
UPDATE: The school’s Superintendent has issued a statement:
It has been reported in the media that a student was suspended over drawing a rendering of Jesus Christ on the cross. This report is totally inaccurate, and the student was never suspended. This incident occurred nearly two weeks ago, it was handled appropriately, and the school staff and family had been working together in a cooperative and positive manner.
The drawing published in various media outlets is not the same drawing that was discovered by the teacher. It has not been established whether the drawing was actually completed in school. Contrary to what has been reported, there was no request or assignment by the teacher for students to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas or any religious holiday. The inaccuracies in the original media story have resulted in a great deal of criticism and scrutiny of the system that is unwarranted.
In this case, as in any other case involving the well being of a student, the administration acted in accordance with the school department’s well-established protocol. This protocol is centered upon the student’s care, well being and educational success. The protocol includes a review of the student’s records, discussions with staff, central administration, school psychologists and other community resources. Decisions were made only after this protocol had been completed, including a consultation with a veteran staff member with a background in clinical psychology and a Ph.D.
It is unfortunate that the actions of our district staff have been classified as “religious” in nature when, in fact, they were based solely on the well being of the student. At this time of year, Christmas is one of many religious and secular holidays. Taunton, known as The Christmas City, takes pride as a community in celebrating this Christian holiday together with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and many others. In the school district, it is our goal to provide the opportunity for all students to be well-rounded, and it is our responsibility to help them attain their social, emotional and academic goals regardless of their religious affiliation.
Administrators in the Taunton Public Schools have an open-door policy and a willingness to discuss and examine any parental concerns and/or actions taken by the teachers, administrators, and other staff. It is difficult for us to address issues when they originate in a media news story, and it is unfortunate that this is the path that was taken in this case. As with any issue involving a child, regardless of a parent’s choice to discuss it in the media, it is the school district’s responsibility to act first in the best interests of the student and family, which we will continue to do in this matter. We will not now, nor will we ever, compromise our obligation in this regard.
With props to Jim Addison in the comments.