The battle over the American flag has reached a middle school art class in California’s Santa Rita School District where a student was told not to draw Old Glory because it was “offensive,” but another student — in the same class — was praised for drawing a picture of President Obama.
Tracy Hathaway, of Salinas, CA, told FOX News Radio her 13-year-old daughter was ordered to stop drawing the American flag by an art teacher at Gavilan View Middle School.
“She had drawn the flag and was sketching the letters, ‘God bless America,’ when the teacher confronted her,” Hathaway told FOX. “She said, ‘You can’t draw that – that’s offensive.’”
Even more striking, another student in the same art class drew a picture of President Obama and was praised by the teacher.
“The picture of Barack Obama was in red, white and blue hues,” Hathaway said. “The teacher said it was great. But when it comes to the flag – all of a sudden it was offensive?”
Hathaway said she took her concerns to the principal – and he was “floored” and apologized for what happened. He arranged a meeting with the Hathaways and the teacher.
“My husband point-blank asked her what she found offensive about the picture – the American flag or the words, ‘God Bless America,’” she said. “The teacher didn’t say a word.”
Hathaway said she was especially concerned that a picture of President Obama was praised yet a picture of the American flag was deemed offensive.
“That showed where she stood in the political spectrum,” she said “But this was not a political class. This was not a religious class. This was an art class. “
“My daughter wasn’t trying to break any rules and she wasn’t trying to create a scene,” she said. “She was just expressing her view and saying this is America and I want God to bless it.”
Mike Brusa, the superintendent of schools, told FOX in a written statement that he had contacted the principal and that the issue “was taken care of to their (the parent’s) satisfaction.”
“The school administration and the parents did not view this as significant enough to bring it to the superintendent’s office,” he wrote.
However, Hathaway said her daughter has yet to receive an apology – and in fact – the teacher told the girl that she should not have gotten her parents involved in the matter.
“My daughter felt like her rights were being trampled on – she was doing what she thought was right.” she said. “It’s disturbing. It really is disturbing. When I was in junior high we didn’t have a lot of the problems they are having now. We were allowed to speak our mind. It’s absolutely devastating for me. Last time I looked, this is America. This is still a free country.”
NOTE: Here is the full response from Superintendent Brusa:
When we were aware there may be additional concerns, I asked the administration to contact parents again to see if there is any expectations from prior contact that have not been met. The Principal did so, and indicated the parents were satisfied that the situation had been handled. They told the Principal they had twittered Fox and had indicated that the situation had been handled. Secondly, there are 3,000 students in the district, 250 employees, and parents that go with the students. Every day there are many interactions that occur between all these individuals. As I indicated, this event occurred several weeks ago, and in that time there would be literally thousands of events large and small between the people involved with the school. This was one small event that did not even come to the level of my office. There is an informal and formal process that is used to resolve issues. The school administration and the parents did not view this as significant enough to bring it to the Superintendent’s office. Thank you for allowing me to clarify this situation.