An 8-year-old boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and sketched what appeared to be a stick figure of Jesus on a cross, the child's father said Tuesday.
TAUNTON, Mass. — An 8-year-old boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and sketched what appeared to be a stick figure of Jesus on a cross, the child's father said Tuesday.
Chester Johnson said his son made the drawing on Dec. 2 after his second-grade teacher asked children to sketch something that reminded them of the holiday. The assignment came just days after the family had visited the holiday lights display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette in Attleboro, where Johnson said his son seemed taken with the religious statues he saw there.
"When he seen the crucifixion of Jesus on the cross, that's what he drew," Johnson said. "He liked that. That drew his eye."
Johnson, who works at the school as a janitor on a per diem basis, said administrators were concerned the boy drew Xs for Jesus' eyes, and particularly worried when his son said he'd drawn himself on the cross after officials pressed him about who he'd drawn.
Johnson said his son might have been worried about getting in trouble if he said he drew Jesus. "If he said it was him, it was more like a cartoon," Johnson said.
Superintendent Julie Hackett said she could not discuss an individual student and did not address the drawing specifically or the teacher's reaction to it, but did say the school has safety protocols in place that were followed.
Hackett did not return multiple calls from The Associated Press on Tuesday.
Johnson said his son gets specialized reading and speech instruction. He showed a reporter an evaluation that said the boy was not a threat to himself or others. The boy has been back in school since Dec. 7.
Johnson said he assured his son that he didn't do anything wrong, but he said his boy was traumatized by the incident and demanding an apology from school officials. Johnson said he's also looking to have his son transferred to another school.
"You can't walk back in an establishment that didn't have confidence in you ... and continue to do business with them," he said. "He's been excluded from all the other kids, man."
In June 2008, a Taunton fifth-grade student was suspended for a day for a stick figure drawing that appeared to depict him shooting his teacher and a classmate.