Teacher forces student to wipe off Ash Wednesday cross

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@artz on UnSplash

Bountiful, Utah, situated less than a half hour north of Salt Lake City, is the state’s 15th largest city. Its residents primarily belong to a Christian sect known as the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and are often collectively referred to as Mormons. There was, however, no Christian understanding for a fourth grade boy who was forced by his teacher to wipe off his Ash Wednesday cross yesterday.

“I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday,” William McLeod told his friends when they asked what was on his forehead. As one of the few observant Catholics at Valley View Elementary in Bountiful, McLeod said he was the only one who came to school that day with ashes. Apparently, it was too much for his classroom teacher, who later approached him and asked him to remove the religious symbol. He tried to explain his reasons for keeping it, to no avail. McLeod informed his family when he returned home, and they approached the teacher, citing the boy’s First Amendment rights (which are notoriously infringed upon in public schools). The teacher claimed to have never read the Constitution.

Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams apologized, as did the unnamed teacher – the latter, with a handwritten note and candy (interesting to note: many Catholics give up something for the 40 days of Lent, and candy is a common sacrifice). The teacher may face disciplinary action.

If schools in a conservative state like Utah can’t seem to honor people’s religious beliefs (especially when those beliefs are Christian), what hope do more liberal states have? The pressure to keep schools as secular as possible (though, some will argue, the push has more to do with keeping Christianity out of schools, not other religions) has some teachers acting in ways they might not otherwise have thought wise.

Utah teacher forced student to wash off Ash Wednesday cross on forehead, family says

Utah teacher forced student to wash Ash Wednesday cross off his forehead

 

Teen charged with bringing homemade bomb to school

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image courtesy Google Maps

Think back to all the things you or your peers may have done to try to appear “cool,” when you were teenagers. Smoking? Drinking? Maybe some hard drugs? A tattoo? Piercing? If this report of a Utah teen planning on blowing up his school to impress ISIS is any indication, all of your childhood rebellions were, indeed, child’s play.

While gang activity is nothing new to anyone who has grown up in an urban environment, Muslim extremism in the form of ISIS is not something many of us had to deal with when we were in high school. An unnamed (“to protect his identity,” according to police) 16-year-old (some articles have him listed as 17) brought a homemade bomb to Pine View High School in St. George, Utah on March 5th and left it in a backpack somewhere inside the building. Luckily, the kid had no idea how to follow whatever instructions he found on Google, and the bomb never actually exploded, instead just emitting smoke and freaking people the heck out.

The student is also suspected of vandalizing a United States flag and raising a homemade flag with Arabic letters, as well as defacing a wall with pro-ISIS graffiti at Hurricane High School, some 15 miles away. May he possibly have attended that school prior to Pine View? As is the case with many “problem students,” schools seem to play “hot potato” with them, eventually shuffling them off to another location after they act out. Way to protect your students by exposing every single one in the area to an unstable person. This is precisely why a gun ban should not be the only issue on our lips concerning violence toward our children. There needs to be more recourse for dealing with mentally unstable people, those with a history of violence or anyone with ties to a violent organization.

Besides admitting everything to police, the teen expressed no remorse or concern for the potential loss of life that could have occurred. Great character education these schools have.

He’s been charged with attempted murder and use of a weapon of mass destruction, among other things.

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