Skip to comments.Student - Elementary School clash over patriotic face paint related to Osama bin Laden's death
Posted on 05/04/2011 12:45:56 PM PDT by Red Badger
When Connor Tressler tuned in to watch his beloved Philadelphia Phillies take on the New York Mets on Sunday evening, he didnt expect to witness history.
The game was interrupted by news that U.S. special forces had killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden during a raid in Pakistan.
Likewise, when the Middle Paxton Elementary School fifth-graders mother painted his face with an American flag, USA and the date of bin Ladens demise Monday morning, neither dreamed it would cause him to run afoul of his schools administration.
They told me it was against the schools code of conduct, that theyre not against the patriotic display, but that the paint goes against the scholastic environment, Connors mother, Jennifer Tressler, said.
Connor, and then his mother, were notified he needed to remove the paint. When both refused, Tressler removed her son for the rest of the school day.
Both sides agreed Connor was never asked to leave the school.
Though the dress code does not specifically exclude face paint, the code states that students have the right to wear such clothing or apparel as they choose, unless such clothing or apparel distracts from the educational program or constitutes a health or safety hazard.
Middle Paxtons principal, Carol Lopez, referred a reporter who visited her Monday to the Central Dauphin School Districts public relations official.
Shannon Leib, the districts spokeswoman, said face paint is never permitted.
In this instance, there was a disruption in the hallway, a reaction of other students pointing or laughing at this student, Leib said.
When asked if a shirt, written with the same symbols, would have been more appropriate, Leib said each case of student expression is considered on its own merits.
In this case, the face paint and the reaction to it to drew Lopezs attention. Lopez acted correctly when she called district Assistant Superintendent Carol Johnson to proceed with a course of action, Leib said.
Mary Catherine Roper, a staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania, called the districts response an overreaction.
Just because a students speech is effective does not make it disruptive, Roper said. Theres a difference between discussion and debate, which schools should encourage, and a breakdown of discipline in the classroom.
Roper pointed to the recent federal court decision allowing students in the Easton Area School District to sport I Heart Boobies bracelets to support a breast cancer charity. What the court said is that a couple of kids making remarks is not a disruption, Roper said.
Remarks, Tressler and her son said, are the only thing that occurred Monday morning.
My teacher said it looks nice, Connor said.
In fact, it was more disruptive to the school day to have Connor pulled out of class twice in about a half-hour than the brief laughs and stares he got in the hallway as he entered school, Tressler said.
Whats more, Tressler said, her son, who plays baseball, came to school last year with a temporary tattoo of a Pirates logo on his neck and a ring of Pirate-related symbols around it.
That display drew no comments from anyone, she said, and was for less serious a reason.
Connor, who was a baby on Sept. 11, 2001, said he was stunned and proud when the baseball game was interrupted by President Barack Obamas announcement.
He has several friends whose parents served tours in Afghanistan and Iraq and he was partially thinking about them as he planned his patriotic display. Hes happy for his country, he said.
Connor and his mother said he plans to be in school today.
I guess I wont paint my face anymore, Connor said. They didnt say anything about my shirt, so Ill stick to T-shirts.
Middle Paxton Elementary School student Connor Tressler, 11, was told by his school's principal that his face painting was against the school's code of conduct. Connor's mother painted an American flag, "USA," and the date of Osama bin Laden's death on his face on Monday.
What scholastic environment?
Look for the union label.................
There is no mention of a father in this story.
My daughter went there when she was in elementary school. I will vouch that Lopez is a certifiable nut who loves anything Obama.
Wonder if Puddy painted his face? “DEVILS!!!!”
I am thinking BRAVEHEART.
She should be deported.
Sounds like a good kid to me! Most 11 year olds have no idea who OBL is. The kid should get in A in current events.
School was right, mother is a dingbat. Next...
School is an inappropriate place for this type of demonstration.
My kid was asking about UBL the other day. He said the head dress bin Laden wore makes him look like a cheesehead.
He said yea don’t mess with America you cheeseheads !
Of course, I also think there is no place for something called "public education" in a free nation, either. LOL.
I suspect the creepy school hire-archy just cemented another one into the ranks of the patriotic right in America.