Elementary School Reverses Rejection of a Student's Manger Scene Picture

( [email protected] ) Dec 20, 2003 12:17 PM EST

A West Virginia public school recently has rejected a student’s manger scene drawing to be displayed but after a complaint was made by the student’s mother, the school allowed the picture to be displayed.

At Flemington Elementary School, a fourth-grader Matthew Bartlett drew a manger scene for a holiday picture display to be viewed by parents attending Wednesday night’s Christmas program. However school officials told Matthew it could not be displayed because it might offend some people.

Hearing what happened to Matthew, Vicky, Matthew’s mother wrote a letter to his teacher, “asking them to please reconsider displaying this picture during the Christmas program [and explaining] that Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of people, and Matthew has been taught that Christmas is the birth of Jesus," she says. "That's why we celebrate it."

"[U]nder 'Philosophy' on page one of their handbook, it said that [the school deals] with each child individually to bring out their qualities and their values and their cultural background," she says. "So I put that in the letter -- and I asked them to do the same with Matthew concerning this."

After receiving Vicky's letter, school officials changed their mind and decided to include Matthew's drawing.

His mother explains how happy Matthew was when he told her his picture was among others on the walls in the school hallways. When she asked him what pictures the other children drew, he responded: "Santa and the reindeer -- but they put mine in a frame."