Draw Jesus, Get SuspendedWritten by: Cameron Print This Article
Use of Our Content (Reposting and Quoting)
Unless you’re a mean-spirited religious bigot, you’ll be shocked by this story of yet another insane “zero tolerance” action against a child. An 8 year old boy in Massachusetts was recently suspended from school because he drew a picture of a Jesus-like figure on a cross and placing his name on the drawing.
The boy’s father, Chester Johnson, is proclaiming that the school is religiously discriminating against his son and may also be racist. He says the school pulled his son out of lunch line to question him, then sent him home. He claims his son has been traumatized by the religious discrimination against him. He states the boy made the drawing in part because the family had just visited a Christmas display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Massachusetts, and there were crucifixion status there as is common in many Christian churches. The images were fresh in his mind and his drawing reflects that.
School “Zero Tolerance” Overreaction
Others point to the school simply overreacting and creating problems out of nothing. The boy had been receiving special needs reading and speech education, but has never had any problems with violence. Chester Johnson claims the school would not led his son return unless his parents paid for a psychological evaluation.
“I think what happened is that because he put Xs in the eyes of Jesus, the teacher was alarmed and they told the parents they thought it was violent,” said Toni Saunders, an educational consultant with the Associated Advocacy Center.
Saunders is working with the boy’s parents after a mutual acquaintance referred them to her.
“When I got that call, I was so appalled that I had to do something,” Saunders said.
“They weren’t looking at the fact that this is an 8-year-old child with special needs,” she added. “They made him leave school, and they recommended that a psychiatrist do an evaluation.”
The school, in fact, required the evaluation before the boy could return, the father said.
Maxham School principal Rebecca Couet referred all questions on the matter to the superintendent’s office.
School Making Denials
The school superindendent, Julie Hackett, is denying that the school suspended the boy over his drawing, claiming there is some other drawing but refusing to say what it depicted.
Apparently the school has a policy that calls for sending children home if they draw something a teacher does not like, even if there is no evidence of any harmful intent.
Superintendent Julie Hackett said she could not discuss an individual student and did not address the drawing specifically or the teacher’s reaction to it, but did say the school has safety protocols in place that were followed.
Hackett did not return multiple calls from The Associated Press on Tuesday.
In June 2008, a Taunton fifth-grade student was suspended for a day for a stick figure drawing that appeared to depict him shooting his teacher and a classmate.
Zero Tolerance Hurts Kids, Let’s Be Less Intolerant
“Zero tolerance” has gone too far in schools and society. It’s just another name for intolerance painted as being politically correct with claims that it is somehow going to help keep people safe.
I’d hate to think how many times I’d have been sent home from school for drawings I used to make. Soldiers, airplanes, explosions — in the Taunton schools, I would have been viewed as a terrorist and been expelled.
What’s next, closing down Christian churches because they glorify a gruesome murder and that could hurt children by encouraging them to be murderers?
It’s time to stop taking extreme measures to “protect people” from non-problems. It’s hurting way too many children and families and moreover is a huge waste of resources.