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Student - Elementary School clash over patriotic face paint related to Osama bin Laden's death ^ | Tuesday, May 03, 2011, 8:00 AM | LARA BRENCKLE

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 didn’t 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-grader’s mother painted his face with an American flag, “USA” and the date of bin Laden’s demise Monday morning, neither dreamed it would cause him to run afoul of his school’s administration.

“They told me it was against the school’s code of conduct, that they’re not against the patriotic display, but that the paint goes against the scholastic environment,” Connor’s 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 Paxton’s principal, Carol Lopez, referred a reporter who visited her Monday to the Central Dauphin School District’s public relations official.

Shannon Leib, the district’s 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 Lopez’s 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 district’s response “an overreaction.”

“Just because a student’s speech is effective does not make it disruptive,” Roper said. “There’s 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.

What’s 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 Obama’s 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. He’s happy for his country, he said.

Connor and his mother said he plans to be in school today.

“I guess I won’t paint my face anymore,” Connor said. “They didn’t say anything about my shirt, so I’ll stick to T-shirts.”

TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; US: Pennsylvania

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.

1 posted on 05/04/2011 12:46:00 PM PDT by Red Badger
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To: Red Badger

What scholastic environment?

2 posted on 05/04/2011 12:48:03 PM PDT by freekitty (Give me back my conservative vote; then find me a real conservative to vote for)
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To: freekitty

Look for the union label.................

3 posted on 05/04/2011 12:48:53 PM PDT by Red Badger (Mitt Romney: The Harold Stassen of the 21st century........)
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To: Red Badger

There is no mention of a father in this story.

4 posted on 05/04/2011 12:50:27 PM PDT by wintertime
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To: Red Badger

My daughter went there when she was in elementary school. I will vouch that Lopez is a certifiable nut who loves anything Obama.

5 posted on 05/04/2011 12:51:57 PM PDT by linn37
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To: Red Badger

Wonder if Puddy painted his face? “DEVILS!!!!”

6 posted on 05/04/2011 12:53:41 PM PDT by FrdmLvr (Death to tyrants)
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To: Red Badger

I am thinking BRAVEHEART.

7 posted on 05/04/2011 12:53:48 PM PDT by LeonardFMason
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To: wintertime
Doesn't matter ~ there's this Lopez gal who probably has dual loyalties ~ one to her union and the other to Fidel Castro or some other latino puke like that.

She should be deported.

8 posted on 05/04/2011 12:55:35 PM PDT by muawiyah
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To: Red Badger

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.

9 posted on 05/04/2011 12:57:17 PM PDT by albie
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To: Red Badger

School was right, mother is a dingbat. Next...

10 posted on 05/04/2011 12:59:56 PM PDT by Prokopton
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To: Prokopton


11 posted on 05/04/2011 1:01:16 PM PDT by SengirV
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To: Prokopton


School is an inappropriate place for this type of demonstration.

12 posted on 05/04/2011 1:03:22 PM PDT by paterfamilias
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To: FrdmLvr

13 posted on 05/04/2011 1:04:19 PM PDT by rollo tomasi (Working hard to pay for deadbeats and corrupt politicians)
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To: SengirV

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 !

14 posted on 05/04/2011 1:06:34 PM PDT by Col Frank Slade
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To: Col Frank Slade

Uh oh.

15 posted on 05/04/2011 1:44:02 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: Prokopton
I agree with you. School is no place for public "demonstrations" of this sort.

Of course, I also think there is no place for something called "public education" in a free nation, either. LOL.

16 posted on 05/04/2011 1:47:30 PM PDT by Alberta's Child ("If you touch my junk, I'm gonna have you arrested.")
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To: LeonardFMason
Or the 101st Airborne before the D-Day jumps....

17 posted on 05/04/2011 2:42:14 PM PDT by Emperor Palpatine (One of these days, of these days.....POW!! Right in the kisser!!!!)
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To: Red Badger

I suspect the creepy school hire-archy just cemented another one into the ranks of the patriotic right in America.

18 posted on 05/04/2011 6:14:34 PM PDT by RobinOfKingston (An election is not a (national) suicide pact.)
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