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TAUNTON, Mass. (CAP) - In what his parents are calling a "violation of his religion," a second grader has been suspended for drawing a picture of Jesus shooting at Santa Claus with a machine gun.
He made the drawing in class after his teacher asked the children to sketch something that reminded them of Christmas, the boy's father said. "What 8-year-old wouldn't draw a picture of Jesus shooting Santa with a machine gun?" he asked, incredulously.
The father, who asked not to be named to protect his son's identity, claims the boy was immediately sent home and forced to undergo a psychiatric exam as a condition of returning to school.
"Apparently they're so against a child expressing his religious beliefs, they think a simple drawing of our Lord shooting Santa with an AR-15 is a sign of mental illness," he said.
Asked how he knew what kind of gun it was, the father responded that he just assumed that's what it was, since that's the kind of weapon they use at home.
School officials declined to comment specifically on the student involved, although Superintendent Martha Fredericks did say that the drawing in question was "sufficiently violent" to warrant intervention.
"It wasn't that Jesus was shooting Santa, so much as it was the way the blood was spurting so graphically from Santa's bullet-riddled torso," commented Fredericks. She also noted that Jesus had been labeled with the boy's name, and two of Santa's elves, lying in a lifeless heap behind the jolly old elf, had been labeled with the teacher's name and Supt. Fredericks.
"That struck us as cause for concern," she said.
She also claims that the teacher never asked the students to draw something that reminded them of Christmas, but rather asked them to draw something about the winter solstice, and provided only white paper and white crayons with which to do so. "It's safer that way," noted Fredericks.
And regardless, she said, the boy did not draw his picture during his art session but rather on the back of his math test, along with the words "MATH = DEATH."
"He does have excellent penmanship, I'll give him that," said Fredericks.
The additional information from the school did not stop Brian Kilmeade of TV's Fox & Friends to criticize administrators. He declared on the show yesterday, "The war on Christmas continues - and this time the liberals are pulling out the big guns! Well, actually it's Jesus who's holding the gun. But the message out of our schools is clear: Jesus, bad, guns ... um ... also bad! Er ... What's up with sports?"
The boy's father, meanwhile, stands by his version of the events, and says he will not rest until he can be assured that his son's religious beliefs will no longer be violated on school grounds.
"Or until I get a six-figure settlement," he added. "One of those two things."
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