Fifth Grader Punished for Crayon Drawing
The Second Circuit Court of Appeals has just affirmed a lower court’s decision concerning a six-day suspension of B.C., a ten-year-old fifth-grader. Apparently a school teacher at Berea Elementary, in Montgomery, NY, gave an in-class art assignment to which B.C. responded to by making a crayon drawing that depicted an astronaut and expressed a desire to “blow up the school with teachers in it.” B.C. was suspended for six days and B.C.’s parents brough suit. From the Second Circuit opinion:
The precise circumstances involving the creation of the astronaut drawing are as follows. On September 12, 2007, B.C.’s science teacher, Tara DeBold, asked her students to fill in a picture of an astronaut and write various things in various sections of the astronaut. The students were instructed to write a “wish” in the left leg of the astronaut. B.C. testified that DeBold told the students that “you can write, like, anything you want . . . you can involve a missile . . . [y]ou can write about missiles.” In that spot, B.C. wrote his “wish”: “Blow up the school with the teachers in it.”
Apparently B.C. has been quite the trouble-maker. You know, pushing and shoving in school hallways and rough play at school. How shocking, a ten-year-old boy not tending to his garden and making flower paintings.
The District Court believes that B.C.’s artwork would cause substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities. Yeah, astronauts hang out at school all the time.
You can read the Second Circuit’s decision here.