A school superintendent in Taunton, MA has been ordered to apologize to the family of an 8-year-old boy who was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation after drawing a picture of Jesus on a cross.
"The mayor is very upset and angry," said Todd Castro, assistant to Mayor Charles Crowley told FOX News Radio. "He spoke with the superintendent this morning and is looking for her to make a public apology and a private apology to the family."
According to the Taunton Daily Gazette, a boy at Maxham Elementary School was instructed to sketch something that reminded him of Christmas. The child had just returned from a visit to the National Shrine of Our Lady of La Salette - so he drew a stick-figure of Jesus on the cross.
The boy's father, who asked not to be identified, told the newspaper he received a call from the school telling him his son had created a violent drawing. "As far as I'm concerned, they're violating his religion," he said.
He was referred by a mutual friend to Toni Saunders, an educational consultant that helps children with special needs. "The father was so angry at what had happened to his son," she told FOX News Radio. "It didn't make sense to him."
"I'm so angry at what has happened," she said, puzzled at how a picture of Jesus on the cross could violate the school's code of violence. "I don't understand it and the father didn't understand it."
Bill Donohue, president of the Catholic League agreed, telling FOX News Radio: "We're going to question the mental state of the child for simply drawing a picture of Christ crucified? There's something serious going on this school."
The father, who asked not to be identified, told the local newspaper his son has never shown any violent tendencies.
Castro said city residents are outraged over the story. The mayor, who is on vacation in Florida, was immediately notified once the story broke. "It's obvious this was not handled properly by school officials," he said.
Castro said the school district has been ordered to reimburse the family for the psychological exam as well as implement procedures to "make sure similar incidents are avoided in the future." The superintendent, who answers to the mayor, did not return calls for a comment.
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