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TAUNTON, MassachusettsHere’s a story making the rounds that has me a bit riled up. Two weeks ago, a Maxham Elementary School teacher found an eighth-grade special needs student drawing a picture of someone being crucified on a cross with X’s for eyes. Following standard school protocol, the student’s records were reviewed, and after discussions with staff and central administration it was deemed that the student complete a psychological evaluation before being allowed back to school. Now some may see this as a grossly overkill knee-jerk reaction, but in this day and age of school violence and shootings, these facilities can take no precautions or possibly suffer circumstances that may even have the school being held liable if it is found to have had signs of disturbing behavior from a student, who later shoots up the cafeteria, but did nothing about it. But this story has now made the news because it has turned religious in nature and Christians everywhere are being riled up into a teeth-gnashing furor after a headline read BOY SUSPENDED FROM SCHOOL FOR DRAWING JESUS.

Chester Johnson, the boy’s father, is now speaking out demanding an apology from the school as well as the town’s mayor. He states that his son was simply drawing a picture of Jesus being crucified after the teacher told the class to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas. Taunton’s school superintendent defended actions by school administrators and states that the picture that Johnson is showing the media isn’t even the picture that the teacher witnessed the boy drawing. They also state “there was no request or assignment by the teacher for students to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas or any religious holiday.”

Mayor Charles Crowley said he wants a school-wide policy put into place to prevent such an incident from happening again. He also ordered the school department to pay for the psychiatric exam the child had to undergo as a condition of returning to school. So keep that in mind any of you little psychos out there who want to vent their frustrations out on paper…just draw scenes from stories in the Bible and you will be A-OK.

I’m going to include the entire statement from the school regarding this matter:

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 wellbeing 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, wellbeing 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 wellbeing 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 Hanukah, 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.

Now seriously, who is doing the over-reacting here? The school who was simply following protocol’s put in place to help protect students from violence, or the Mayor, the boy’s father, and a good chunk of “Christians” who are jumping on this story to show everyone how much they are persecuted? Let me know what you think after reading the source article. Personally, I feel the school was acting in the overall student body’s best interest, and Mayor Charles Crowley should be ashamed of himself.

I wonder if everyone would be so quick to condemn the school’s actions had this been a Muslim kid who had drawn scenes of disbelievers of Allah wearing garments of fire with boiling liquid being poured on their heads as their skin melts off all while being tortured with iron hooks as described in the Quran?


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