By Mary DeTurris Poust
School officials in Taunton, Mass., are now denying that a second-grader was suspended for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross as part of a holiday classroom assignment. Officials say the drawing in question was not the drawing of the cross, although they have not yet produced any other drawing by the student.
An updated AP story does say, however, that the cross picture (below), which officials claim was not even drawn at school but was discovered by a teacher, was cause for following "well-established protocol," including reviewing the 8-year-old's records and consulting with school psychologists. The boy allegedly put his own name on the drawing, not the name of Jesus, raising concerns.
A Boston Globe story reports:
"She (the teacher) said the drawing was seen as a potential cry for help when the student identified himself, rather than Jesus, on the cross, which prompted the teacher to alert the school’s principal and staff psychologist. As a result, the boy underwent a psychological evaluation."
The father of the boy is sticking by his story, which was reported in our original post below:
A second-grader in Massachusetts was sent home from school earlier this month for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross. His teacher, according to an AP story, thought the stick-figure drawing was "too violent." The assignment was to draw something that makes you think of the holiday. The Taunton, Mass., school also ordered the 8-year-old to undergo psychiatric evaluation.
The child's father said that the family had recently visited the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, Mass., "where there are crucifixion statues," as if a drawing of the crucifixion should ever require some sort of explanation or defense. The boy has since been allowed to return to school after the evaluation showed that he was not a threat to himself or others.
It's funny, but no one would have blinked had that same drawing been turned in at a Catholic school, where students understand that the crucifix is a central part of our faith story, a part that cannot be separated from the more pleasant elements -- like the Incarnation and the Resurrection. My own 4-year-old regularly asks about the crucifix hanging over our church altar. It would not surprise me in the least if one of my own children came up with a similar drawing for a similar assignment.
And, sadly, it does not surprise me in this day and age that a school teacher would classify a drawing of Jesus on the cross in the same category as a drawing of a child shooting a teacher and another student. In 2008, a fifth-grade student was suspended by the Taunton school for a day for such a drawing. Jesus has been moved so far off the radar screen of society that what once was understood as a sign and symbol of the ultimate sacrifice and gift by our Savior has been turned into evidence of potential threatening behavior.
Read the full story, HERE.