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December 15, 2009

Is Jesus on the Cross a "violent image?"

Does drawing a picture of Jesus on the Cross make you a violent person?  A school principal in Tuanton, Massachusetts seems to think so.

This report in the Taunton Gazette about an 8 year old boy being suspended and sent for psychological evaluation after he drew such a picture just royally pissed me off.

"A Taunton father is outraged after his 8-year-old son was sent home from school and required to undergo a psychological evaluation after drawing a stick-figure picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.
The father said he got a call earlier this month from Maxham Elementary School informing him that his son, a second-grade student, had created a violent drawing. The image in question depicted a crucified Jesus with Xs covering his eyes to signify that he had died on the cross. The boy wrote his name above the cross."

This is truly outrageous. They didn't even use the typical "no religion in schools" defense, which they couldn't anyway because the boy drew it in reaction to the assignment "sketch something that reminded them of Christmas."  They actually seemed to think he might warrant a threat because it was a "violent image."  How can a religious symbol be a violent image?  I wonder what other religions have "violent images" that a student could be suspended for?  I won't go there, though.

Do these administrators have no concept of what Christianity is?  I can't imagine they are that clueless, so what else is behind this?  They needlessly traumatized a young boy.
"The boy made the drawing and was sent home from school on Dec. 2. He went for the psychological evaluation — at his parents’ expense — the next day and was cleared to return to school the following Monday after the psychological evaluation found nothing to indicate that he posed a threat to himself or others.

The boy, however, was traumatized by the incident, which made going back to school very difficult, the father said. School administrators have approved the father’s request to have the boy transferred to another elementary school in the district."
Of course, all of the officials are hiding behind the typical bureaucratic blather of not being able to discuss a "confidential matter regarding a student."  There will be no accountability, and soon this will all be swept under the rug and forgotten by everybody.

Except for a traumatized young boy with special needs (he gets specialized reading and speech instruction).  The boy was just trying to represent what Christmas means to him, and this is the thanks he gets?

This is just another example of the insane "zero tolerance" policies that too many school systems in the US (and probably Canada and other countries as well) follow without actually using that thing in their heads that is called "the brain."  They come up with these policies of not tolerating things like drugs, bullying, harassment, or whatever.  And then, when a situation comes up, they apply it without thinking about it.  How about that 6 year old Cub Scout in Delaware earlier this year who was so excited to get his Cub Scout camping utensil that he took it to school with him?  But it had a dulled, kid-friendly knife in it!  OH NO!!!  He had to go to reform school for 45 days because of that (though I do believe that was overturned after a lot of media outrage).

So, teacher and principal see an image of a figure on a cross?  With X's as eyes because, you know, he died on the Cross, and BINGO!  Instant "he might have violent tendencies!" ruling.

I hope these administrators aren't allowed to hide behind their "confidentiality" defense and that they have to account for this extremely stupid ruling.  And they should reimburse the father the money he had to shell out for the psych evaluation.

Truly sad.

(h/t: Kathryn Jean Lopez)


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