A Utah elementary school teacher may face disciplinary action after she made a fourth-grade boy wipe off the Ash Wednesday cross on his forehead.
William McLeod arrived for class at Valley View Elementary School in Bountiful on Wednesday with the traditional Ash cross to commemorate the Christian holy day.
But William said he was the only student in his class with the cross on his forehead and that his teacher quickly came up and asked him what it was.
‘I was like, “It’s Ash Wednesday and I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent,'” William told KSTU. ‘She was like, “No, it’s inappropriate, go take it off.”‘
William said he tried to explain the meaning of the cross to his teacher, but that she once again told him he had to take it off.
‘She gave me a disinfection wipe and she made me wipe it off,’ William said.
William said his teacher made him remove the cross in front of the class and ‘all of my friends’.
‘I felt like, really bad,’ he added.
Earlier that morning, William said his classmates had been asking about the cross.
‘A lot of students asked me what it is, I said “I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent. It’s Ash Wednesday. They put it on your forehead to show holiness,'” he said.
The incident was reported to the principal, who immediately called William’s grandmother. His teacher later called her as well.
‘I was pretty upset,’ Karen Fisher, his grandmother, said. ‘I asked her if she read the Constitution with the First Amendment and she said “No” and “Ohhh.”‘
The Davis School District has since called the incident unacceptable and said it wants students of all faiths to feel at home.
‘Why that even came up, I have no idea,’ said Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams.
‘When a student comes in to school with ashes on their foreheads, it’s not something we say please take off.’
William said he received candy and a handwritten note from his teacher that read: ‘William, I am so sorry. I hope we can move things from here’.
Fisher said she hopes the experience will ‘help somebody’ and that it ‘never happens again’.
‘And I don’t think it will,’ she added.
The Davis School District is currently conducting an investigation and said the teacher, whose name has not been released, could face consequences.
Ash Wednesday falls on the first day of Lent and is known as the holy day of prayer, fasting, and repentance.
Among the Christians who observe the day are Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Methodists, and Lutherans.
The ashes used to make the cross are prepared from the burning of palm leaves used in the previous year’s Palm Sunday celebrations.
A cross is placed on a person’s forehead with the words ‘Repent, and believe in the Gospel’ or ‘Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return’.
SOURCE: Daily Mail