In a stunning display of wrong-headed thinking, an 8 year old student from Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, England was suspended for drawing a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross. His class was asked to draw a picture of something that reminded them of Christmas. The boy had recently been to a Christian retreat to see a Christmas display, so it’s likely that that was the source of the idea for his picture.
School officials apparently mistook the picture for a sign of mental instability, and not only suspended the child, but refused his re-entrance to school pending a psychological evaluation at his parents’ expense. Of course, there was no finding of threat, so the boy was readmitted to his class the following day, though not after feeling reluctant to return due to the traumatic event.
Let’s be clear on two points: 1) in Christian mythology, Jesus did die on the cross. The Crucifixion is the main element of the attendant iconography; and 2) There wouldn’t be a Christmas without Jesus Christ. So it’s incredibly short-sighted for the school to have punished this 8 year old for simply connecting the dots. Simply depicting an image that is both widespread and publicly available is neither a crime nor an example of instability. That the referring article links this incident with an earlier one at a different school in which a drawing showing actual violence is misleading.
It’s understandable in these times to be vigilant and cautious, but sometimes greater wrongs are committed in an excess of fear. Please, everyone, let’s temper our concerns with the judicious use of reason.