A fifth grader who celebrated Osama Bin Laden’s death with face paint had to be picked up by his mother because school officials deemed his face paint to be “too disruptive for class.” Obviously, any sort of face paint would be disruptive so it’s unsurprising that this little boy’s patriotic attempt garnered the reaction that it did.
The fifth grader’s mother, Jennifer Tressler, stated that she had sent her son, Conner, to school with face paint that marks the date of Osama Bin Laden’s death on his forehead, the painting of an American flag on his right cheek, and the letters USA on his left cheek.
There’s little doubt that Conner expressed the happiness many felt in a much more visual way than anyone else at his school did. However, being overly patriotic got his mother a call from the school. They informed her that Conner would have to remove his face paint if he wanted to remain in school for the day. As many mothers would have done, his mother chose to remove him from school entirely.
However, the American Civil Liberties Union feels the school went overboard. ACLU attorney Mary Catherine Roper said, “There’s a difference between discussion and debate, which schools should encourage, and a breakdown of discipline in the classroom.”
There certainly is a major difference and this incident can be seen from both sides. Some would say that Conner’s face paint was just a way to get attention and others would counter that perhaps his family lost loved ones in 9/11 or that he has family serving in the military. Either way there would be a debate.
Shannon Leib of the Central Dauphin School District said, “As part of their dress and grooming, they must adhere to a scholastic atmosphere, and the face paint was causing a distraction within the school.”
In the end, the fifth grader didn’t seem too phased by the incident because he plans on marking and celebrating Osama Bin Laden’s death in another way. Conner said, “They didn’t say anything about my shirt, so I’ll stick to T-shirts.”
Â© Evalynn J. Saeyang Â– Gather Inc. 2011