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Teacher Apologizes After Making Student Wipe off Ash Wednesday Cross She Deemed ‘Inappropriate’

Teacher Apologizes After Making Student Wipe off Ash Wednesday Cross She Deemed ‘Inappropriate’

A Utah teacher is apologizing after she asked a fourth-grade student to wipe a religious symbol off his forehead this week.

William McLeod, who is Catholic, told KTSU he went to Valley View Elementary School with an ash cross on his forehead on Wednesday.

He was the only student wearing the symbol, which symbolizes the start of Lent. He explained:

“A lot of students asked me what it is. I said, ‘I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday.'”

McLeod went to class and was stopped by his teacher, who told him that the ash cross was “inappropriate” and that he’d need to remove it.

The student tried to explain why he had the ashes on his forehead, but she didn’t listen, he said:

“She took me aside and she said, ‘You have to take it off.’ She gave me a disinfection wipe — whatever they are called — and she made me wipe it off.”

The boy said other students were watching the confrontation.

The school principal found out about the incident and called the child’s grandmother, Karen Fisher, who was “pretty upset.”

She also spoke to the teacher. Fisher told KTSU:

“I asked her if she read the Constitution with the First Amendment and she said, ‘No’ and ‘Ohhhh.'”

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The teacher, who may face disciplinary action, later wrote an apology to the student and gave him candy.

Chris Williams, a spokesperson for Davis School District, said he’s unsure why the teacher asked the student to remove the ash cross as it wasn’t against policy. He said:

“Why that even came up, I have no idea. When a student comes in to school with ashes on their forehead, it’s not something we say ‘Please take off.'”

A deacon who works for the school district later placed another ash cross on the child.

Fisher said she hopes this will be the first and last time something like this happens in the school district.

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View Comments (15)
  • Any religion gets accepted unless Jesus Christ is involved. Anti- Christian hostility is becoming dispiccably ok

  • It’s becoming more and more prevalent that Christ is not welcome in schools nor in Public. We ,as CHRISTIANS must continue to fight with our love for The Lord harder to make sure God and His Son remain first ,last and always, no matter what!
    Praise God! Praise Our Savior!
    Be with us O Holy Spirit!

  • The teacher doesn’t need “discipline”, she needs instruction. Both about certain Christian traditions and about The Constitution. She doesn’t need to be pounded about this.

  • The boy had every right to keep those ashes on his head because, as his grandmother pointed out, it is freedom of religion and freedom of expression. I commend the teacher for apologizing, however.

  • As a converted Catholic, I can understand the confusion. Growing up I never knew what it meant and often asked other people who were just as clueless as me. I teach at a Catholic School and my suggestion to any educator is to get the full story before jumping to conclusions. She probably thought it was another “mindless “ thing that a kid was doing for attention. I think she has probably been educated now and will know how to act in the future.

  • I guess it has become politically correct to have anti-Semitism and anti-Catholic views and be totally ignorant of what it means to have religious views. Asking why is okay, but to demand that the person remove the symbol of a religious act is bias in the highest form. But PC thinkers don’t see it that way. That school should have a general assembly and discuss this with the entire student body and have all the teachers have a required training session.
    Stupid is as stupid does.

  • If he was muslim and it was a muslim symbol teacher would have been fired and school sued. But because its a Catholic christian symbol he gets candy and teacher keeps job? No absolutely unacceptable and double standard!! Just read the article dearly posted about an ethic student not saying pledge teacher got fired. There are more examples too.

  • I actually agree with the teacher on this one. Why would anyone want ashes on their forehead? I’m a Young Earth Creationist just in case anyone ask.

    • Dear dumbolt. There are 1 billion Catholics in the world. Their religious expression is nothing you get to pine in on. We don’t have to consult you or the teacher and theConstitution – do you know about that? It says we have a right to our religious expression and no one can overrule that. Capiche? We do t even need to explain it to you. But out of human kindness our religion recognizes God as Sumpreme over the world because he created the world. And while the ashes represent our mortality, we actually believe through God’s love we will be immortal. Pretty cool don’t you think?

    • And yet. You’re allowed to practice your religion as he is allowed to practice his whether you understand it and whether or not you agree with it is irrelevant. Just as it would be if someone questions your religion. Or whatever it is that you call it.

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