By Chelsea Schilling
© 2009 WorldNetDaily
An 8-year-old boy has been suspended from school and forced to undergo a psychological evaluation after he drew a picture of Jesus Christ on the cross, his father claims.
A teacher at Lowell Maxham Elementary School in Taunton, Mass., allegedly said the second-grade student created a violent drawing, the Taunton Daily Gazette reported.
The boy's picture portrayed a crucified Jesus with Xs over his eyes to indicate that he had died on the cross.
The child's father, outraged at the school's action, asked to remain anonymous to protect his son. He said his boy drew the picture after returning from a family trip to see the Christmas display at the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette, a Christian retreat.
He said when the teacher asked students to draw something that reminded them of Christmas on Dec. 2, the boy recalled his trip and created a portrait of Christ on the cross.
"As far as I'm concerned, they're violating his religion," he told the newspaper.
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Associated Advocacy Center educational Toni Saunders said, "I think what happened is that because he put Xs in the eyes of Jesus, the teacher was alarmed and they told the parents they thought it was violent."
The father said the following is the drawing in question:
Boy's drawing depict Jesus on the cross (photo: Taunton Daily Gazette)
Saunders said the boy has special needs, and the school reacted inappropriately.
"They made him leave school, and they recommended that a psychiatrist do an evaluation," she said.
But the boy's father told the newspaper the school required an evaluation – at the parents' expense – before the student would be allowed to return.
"When she told me he needed to be psychologically evaluated, I thought she was playing," he said.
However, the school district claims the boy was never suspended.
"This incident occurred nearly two weeks ago," said a statement from the district. "It was handled appropriately, and the school staff and family had been working together in a cooperative and positive manner."
The district also claims the picture published above is not the same drawing that was discovered by the teacher and that the teacher did not assign the students to sketch a picture that reminded them of Christmas.
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