True or False

This past week a sad story broke in the local news. It would seem that an eight year old special needs student in Taunton, Massachusetts was suspended and send for psychological counseling for drawing a picture of Jesus on the Cross in a public school.

At first glance I was outraged and looking back at the story now I am glad I was too busy to write about the events of that day.

The father of the child was outraged. How could the school suspended his child for something like this so close to Christmas. They made them pay for the counseling and had embarrassed his child. That was the start of the TV news interview the other night. Then the wheels came off the wagon. He went on to say that he believed that the school now owed him money, he wanted his son transferred to the brand new school in town and even made a suggestion that race was involved. The people involved in this are African American.

The school system was slow, as they should be, to respond to the father’s claim. School systems have to be careful when talking about students records because of privacy laws. So the school took its time to get its ducks in a row before releasing a statement. That night the radio talk shows were full of the chatter about this and how outrageous it was for the school to do this to this poor child. They demanded that the superintendent speak about this. How dare she not speak to the press they were saying. Well I do not believe that the superintendent has any obligation to speak to anyone about the record of a student save the parents of that student. The blogs have alive with this story and again I am glad I was too busy to write about it.

The mayor of the town came out with a statement chastising the school system for this. Then the truth came out.

The school system released a statement with the following facts:

The boy wasn’t suspended.
The teacher never asked for a Christmas drawing.
The family wasn’t ordered to pay for the evaluation.
The drawing the father showed the media wasn’t even the same drawing the teacher saw in school.

So it would seem that not all that glitters is gold. It would seem that the greatest harm to this child was done by his own father for he was attempting to exploit his child for money. Yes the school did send the child for an evaluation because of statements that he made and the real drawing that had his name above the cross and he told the teacher that he was being crucified! The school system acted in a way consistent with how school systems should act. If they had not sent this child for an evaluation and something happened, this same father would be on the air waves screaming, “why didn’t they do something?”

There is a moral to be learned here. Don’t run before you can walk! What harm would there have been for the media to wait to verify the story, maybe the school should have come out with the statement sooner. It is not all the media’s fault on this one by the way. And to the father of the year, don’t exploit your children. This father did far more harm to his son than the school did. He looked like a fool on the TV newscast and perhaps has harmed his son in ways that we may never know.

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