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  1. #1
    Atomic Punk
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    Default They can't mess with our religion; they owe us a small lump sum...

    A Massachusetts father is standing by claims that his 8-year-old son was sent home from school after the boy drew a stick figure of Jesus on a crucifix.

    Chester Johnson, 40, said his son did indeed draw the picture circulated to reporters and that Taunton School District officials later said was not the same drawing discovered by the second-grade student's teacher earlier this month.

    "I swear to God, on my grave, you could kill me if I'm lying," Johnson, 40, told FoxNews.com. "I wouldn't make nothing up. This is the holiday season — I don't have time for that."

    Johnson, who said he works for the Taunton School District as a part-time custodian, said his hours have been cut since the controversy made headlines locally and nationally.

    "It's put a toll on me," Johnson said. "Now I'm trying to get a transfer."

    Taunton School District officials did not immediately respond on Wednesday to Johnson's claims, including whether he was employed by the district.

    In a written statement issued late Tuesday, school officials said the boy was never suspended over the sketch.



    ==================================================

    Taunton officials dispute reports on Jesus sketch
    Say boy not suspended, no evaluation ordered


    TAUNTON - City officials sharply disputed yesterday widely distributed reports that a local elementary school suspended a second-grader and required the boy to undergo a psychological evaluation for drawing a picture of Jesus on the cross.

    The story, initially reported by the local newspaper, raised questions of religious bias days before Christmas and was broadcast by local television stations and other news media. Making the story more compelling, the boy’s father held court for much of the day at his girlfriend’s apartment, granting interviews to reporters from Providence to Boston, demanding that the school district compensate him for his family’s pain and suffering.

    “It hurts me that they did this to my kid,’’ Chester Johnson, the boy’s father, said in an interview with the Globe. “They can’t mess with our religion. They owe us a small lump sum for this.’’

    But school officials say that the account in yesterday’s Taunton Daily Gazette was rife with errors and that the father’s description of what happened is untrue.

    “The report is totally inaccurate,’’ Julie Hackett, superintendent of the Taunton public schools, said in an interview in her office yesterday. “The inaccuracies in the original media story have resulted in a great deal of criticism and scrutiny of the system that is unwarranted.’’

    Dino F. Ciliberti, editor of the Gazette, did not return calls yesterday.

    Hackett said the student, age 9, was never suspended and that neither he nor other students at the Maxham Elementary School were asked by the teacher to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas or any religious holiday, as the Gazette and other media reported and the father suggested, although his story changed as he explained it.

    She said it was unclear whether the boy, who put his name above a stick figure portrait of Christ on the cross, had drawn the picture in school, which his teacher discovered Dec. 2.

    “Religion had nothing to do with this at all, 100 percent nothing to do with it,’’ Hackett said, adding that Taunton is known as “The Christmas City.’’

    She 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.

    She declined to comment on the results of the evaluation or whether the teacher had reason to believe that the student was crying out for help. The boy’s father showed reporters a report indicating his son was not a threat to himself or others and could return to school.

    “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,’’ she said in a statement. “This protocol is centered upon the student’s care, well-being, and educational success. The protocol includes a review of the student’s records.’’

    After reading the account in the local paper, Mayor Charles Crowley of Taunton asked Hackett to apologize to the boy’s parents. But in a telephone interview late yesterday, he said he stands by the superintendent.

    “Dr. Hackett has far more of the facts than I do, and now I understand that the report was not accurate,’’ he said. “Based on her account, I stand behind my superintendent. She is in possession of the facts.’’

    Officials from the state Department of Children and Families declined to comment on the case because there was no allegation of abuse.

    Johnson said his son was suffering as a result of the commotion. He said his grades have declined in recent days and that he wanted him to be transferred to the Elizabeth Pole School, the most recently built in Taunton.

    “He said he was uncomfortable,’’ he said. “I also think they should give him a fully paid scholarship to the school of his choice. We should be compensated for our pain and suffering.’’

    Johnson acknowledged that his son identified himself on the cross, but he said it was only after he told school officials that his picture represented Jesus.

    “He was scared, so he changed his story,’’ Johnson said.

    School officials said the newspaper had an ax to grind, citing an opinion piece Ciliberti posted yesterday on the Gazette’s website, in which he called the school’s actions “a shame’’ and argued that the district “turned this into a major story.’’

    Hackett said the Gazette published its story without giving the district time to investigate the allegations.

    “The approach that is often taken is that an editorial or article in the local newspaper is completely inaccurate, but it gets published before anyone checks the facts,’’ she said.

    http://blog.al.com/spotnews/2009/12/...denies_su.html

    http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,580282,00.html

    http://www.wbz.com/pages/5896962.php
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  2. #2
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    I'm at a loss.......Wow.....

  3. #3
    Atomic Punk
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    07.24.11 @ 04:36 PM
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    hmm...I can see how a kid drawing a self-portrait of himself on the cross could raise an eyebrow. However, it shouldn't have been taken as some immediate red flag because young kids can have a hard time really digesting Jesus and crucifixion as a concept and rather just role out with rote phrases they are inculcated with during sunday school classes and family talks. Jesus gets dressed up kinda like a superhero and this wouldn't be the first kid to want to emulate Jesus the way they would Superman. They get told Jesus is awesome, they see Jesus on a cross and they're told to be like Jesus so, it's not a big leap for them to draw a cross and stick themselves on it.

    This is a classic case of shit being blown way out of proportion and everyone shooting from the hip because it touches all their buttons when really there isn't a whole lot going on...at least it doesn't sound like, well, except for a janitor wanting to get money and a kid who probably has no clue why everyone is freaking out and now has his old man filling his ear with nonsense and a school district in full-on spin mode trying to keep themselves from being painted as some anti-jesus band of liberal educators...oh and the jackoff at the newspaper stirring the shit.

    Ahhh...small town amurca...gotta love it.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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    12.12.17 @ 06:31 AM
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    I like how the good Christian father is willing to forgive it all pending a "fully paid scholarship to the school of his choice".

  5. #5
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-roc View Post
    I like how the good Christian father is willing to forgive it all pending a "fully paid scholarship to the school of his choice".
    LOL... So true...
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

  6. #6
    Hang 'Em High sickman's Avatar
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    I think people have to loosen up a bit. Hell it wasn't even that good of a drawing. But really, give me a break. I can remember when I was in elementary school drawing all kinds of crazy shit, upside down crosses, pentagrams, pretty much anything evil looking that I had seen on countless album covers and heavy metal magazines. I didn't need a psych evaluation, It wasn't a cry for help, I turned out just fine. On the other hand if my teachers maybe payed closer attention they would have seen the map that was hidden in each drawing that lead to the bodies.
    I used to jog but the ice cubes kept falling out of my glass.

  7. #7
    Future's in the past....
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    11.03.17 @ 01:35 PM
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickman View Post
    I think people have to loosen up a bit. Hell it wasn't even that good of a drawing. But really, give me a break. I can remember when I was in elementary school drawing all kinds of crazy shit, upside down crosses, pentagrams, pretty much anything evil looking that I had seen on countless album covers and heavy metal magazines. I didn't need a psych evaluation, It wasn't a cry for help, I turned out just fine. On the other hand if my teachers maybe payed closer attention they would have seen the map that was hidden in each drawing that lead to the bodies.
    Could be far worse, when I was in elementary school (Lutheran), my mother was called in because my Christmas drawing included F4U Corsairs in combat. Guess they didn't figure on a kid being addicted to watching Black Sheep Squadron back then....
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  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sickman View Post
    I think people have to loosen up a bit. Hell it wasn't even that good of a drawing. But really, give me a break. I can remember when I was in elementary school drawing all kinds of crazy shit, upside down crosses, pentagrams, pretty much anything evil looking that I had seen on countless album covers and heavy metal magazines. I didn't need a psych evaluation, It wasn't a cry for help, I turned out just fine. On the other hand if my teachers maybe payed closer attention they would have seen the map that was hidden in each drawing that lead to the bodies.

    I agree, and kids used to draw pentgrams, upside down crosses, all that stuff when I was in school as well, and come to think of it, it was always boys that drew it....

    Sorry, my mind's doing it's thing, but it reminds me Junior year, one of my good friends did his research paper on Satanism, he failed it the year before and did it on witchcraft. Lol...when I asked him why he was writing the paper on such topics, he said " Cause I'm gonna scare Ms. Stewart into passing me." LOL! She passed him.

    I do think that adults do take things like this WAY too seriously when it comes to a small child. I think they tend to forget that a child's mind is just a sponge that absorbs everything around them, and they are constantly learning....This could possibly deter the little boy in his drawing abilities, he may be scared to ever pic up a pencil again, because an adult made such a big deal out of something so minor.....Just sad....

  9. #9
    Atomic Punk ziggysmalls's Avatar
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    Its all overblown. I remember being a kid and finding a stack of Playboys in the woods. Didn't make me into a rapist. While I agree with a separation of church and state, this is going a little too far. What about wearing a crucifix as jewelery? Is that against the schools policies?

    I hate political correctness.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    What about wearing a crucifix as jewelery? Is that against the schools policies?

    I hate political correctness.
    It is here, but it's ok to wear a cross necklace...and I just do NOT get that...


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  11. #11
    Atomic Punk
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    Its all overblown. I remember being a kid and finding a stack of Playboys in the woods. Didn't make me into a rapist. While I agree with a separation of church and state, this is going a little too far. What about wearing a crucifix as jewelery? Is that against the schools policies?

    I hate political correctness.
    there have been some issues where crucifixes and rosaries have been banned on school because they were used as gang symbols.

    From what the article says, it doesn't sound like a political correctness issue though...it sounds like the paper and the dad are trying to paint the school as wanting to punish the kid for believing in jesus or something but that doesn't seem to be the case here.
    Stay out of it, dude.


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  12. #12
    Atomic Punk jrk5150's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ziggysmalls View Post
    While I agree with a separation of church and state, this is going a little too far. What about wearing a crucifix as jewelery? Is that against the schools policies?

    I hate political correctness.
    What's that have to do with this story? Try reading it before commenting on it.

  13. #13
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    I'd love to jump all over some anti christian liberals, but this situation smelled from the get go. I think the father is stretching the truth and I believe the school officals when they say they never told the students to draw something that reminded them of Christmas. Why, that would go against their ideals. I think this is a simple case of a low life person who unfortunately was able to procreate and now wants a litte cash.

  14. #14
    Atomic Punk
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    TAUNTON — A meeting between Taunton School Superintendent Julie Hackett and the family of a boy who drew a picture of Jesus that has caused a national uproar did not materialize Wednesday.

    “They did not show, they gave no indication that they were canceling the meeting, and we have not yet rescheduled,” said Hackett, responding to questions e-mailed to her.

    Later Wednesday, a civil liberties organization representing the family released a statement, calling the incident in which 8-year-old Maxham Elementary School second-grader Jalen Cromwell’s drawing was deemed inappropriate an “overreaction by school officials.”

    The boy’s father, Chester Johnson, stayed inside his Oak Street apartment Wednesday, deferring all media inquiries to a spokesperson at the Rutherford Institute, a nonprofit international civil liberties legal group based in Charlottesville, Va. The group specializes in defending constitutional and religious rights.

    In a news release, Rutherford’s President, John Whitehead, asserted the student “was allegedly forced by school officials to undergo psychological evaluations. ... The psychological damage to this family is appalling."

    Johnson was outraged after he said his son was sent home from school and required to undergo a psychological evaluation for drawing a stick-figure picture of Jesus Christ on the cross.

    He made the drawing after visiting the popular Christmas display at the La Salette Shrine in Attleboro, Johnson said.

    The boy was sent home from school on Dec. 2, went for the evaluation the next day and was cleared the following Monday after the evaluation found nothing to indicate that he posed a threat to himself or others.

    Hackett issued a three-page statement Tuesday saying the incident “was handled appropriately” by school officials and calling media reports about the incident “inaccurate.”

    On Wednesday, Hackett said that while the boy was kept out of school for more than two days, he was not technically suspended from school.

    She acknowledged that the student’s return to school was contingent upon completion of a safety evaluation.

    “When there is a safety concern and a safety evaluation is warranted, the child returns to school as soon as the evaluation has been completed,” Hackett said.

    Attorneys from Rutherford requested that the school district pay to transfer the boy to an out-of-district school and pay his parents additional transportation costs.

    They set a Tuesday deadline for Hackett to respond.
    "Watch what people are cynical about, and one can often discover what they lack.” -- Gen. George S. Patton

 

 

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