The Daily Mail is reporting on the incident which occurred at Valley View Elementary School in Bountiful, Utah last week when a student named William McLeod came to school with an ashen cross on his forehead after attending Mass on Ash Wednesday.
McLeod told KSTU that his fellow students were curious about the ashes and were asking questions about it.
“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 told them.
But his teacher was not impressed and demanded to know what it was.
“I was like, ‘It’s Ash Wednesday and I’m Catholic. It’s the first day of Lent,'” McLeod told KSTU. ‘She was like, ‘No, it’s inappropriate, go take it off.”‘
He tried to explain the meaning of the ashes but his teacher would not hear of it. Once again, she ordered him to remove the ashes.
“She gave me a disinfection wipe and she made me wipe it off,” McLeod said.
What was even worse than having to remove the ashes, his teacher made him do so in front of the whole class and “all of my friends,” McLeod said.
“I felt like, really bad,” he added.
However, someone reported the incident to the principal who immediately called McLeod’s grandmother, Karen Fisher, to tell her what happened and apologize.
“Why that even came up, I have no idea,” said Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams, and made it quite clear that the incident was unacceptable.
“When a student comes in to school with ashes on their foreheads, it’s not something we say please take off.”
The District wants children of all faiths to feel welcome.
The teacher later apologized to the boy, giving him candy and a handwritten note that read: “William, I am so sorry. I hope we can move things from here.”
The teacher also called McLeod’s grandmother who asked if she had ever read the Constitution. The teacher apparently said “no” and “oh” to the well-deserved chiding.
Fisher said she’s hopeful that this experience will “help somebody” and that it will “never happen again.”
The Davis School District is currently conducting an investigation and said the teacher, whose name has not been released, could face consequences.
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