5th Grader Suspended for Drawing (at the instruction of his art teacher) a Scary Halloween Picture

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Encouraged by his art teacher 10 year old Jordan Hood drew a picture of a vampire for Halloween art class. Which got him taken from school by campus police, and suspended for being too good.

Savannah Morning News reports

Fifth-grader Jordan Hood thought the bloody vampire he drew in art class was scary, but he had no idea it would elicit a horrifying response from one of his teachers.

Tuesday morning, Jordan was assigned to draw a scary Halloween mask in art class.

By the end of the day, Jordan was being told he could not return to Pooler Elementary School until he passed a psychological evaluation.

"We live in an age where there is some hypersensitivity," Bucky Burnsed, Savannah-Chatham school system spokesman, said Thursday. "But the child is back in school where he belongs."

During art class Tuesday, Jordan drew a scarred vampire with bloodshot eyes and with blood dripping from its nose, mouth and down its cheeks. Art teacher Lloyd Harold helped the boy shade the sketched eyes to give the drawing an even creepier look.

"The assignment was to draw a scary mask or picture - basically a Halloween activity," Harold said.

As a final gory touch, Jordan used a red marker to write "I Kill For Blood" under his drawing.

The picture was not destined for the cover of Fangoria magazine, but it fulfilled the requirement for fifth-grade Halloween art.

However, when Jordan's homeroom teacher, Melissa Pevey, saw the drawing, she found it disturbing. Pevey was concerned enough to contact assistant principal Valerie Johnson and Campus Police.

But it wasn't blood and gore that bothered Pevey. She believed the blood looked a lot like gang-related teardrop tattoos, and she thought the words "I Kill For Blood" could be tied to an infamous Los Angeles street gang known as The Bloods.

Jordan's mother, LaKisha Hood, was shocked to find that her son's art lesson had evolved into a gang investigation.

"They told me the droplets could actually be a gang symbol for the number of people he killed," she said.

Burnsed said the district has asked teachers to be wary of anything that might be harmful to students. He also said the district has provided gang-identification training.

He did not know whether classroom teachers were trained in gang symbolism.

"The teacher was concerned and referred it to the Campus Police," Burnsed said. "(Campus Police Capt. Joan) Sasser wasn't sure that it meant anything."

So they resolved the issue by requiring Jordan to undergo psychological testing with Gateway Mental Health.

Jordan's family didn't want him to miss school, so he went in for testing first thing Wednesday morning - getting him back to school in time for the fall dance that afternoon.

Although he only lost about two hours of instruction, his mother fears the incident also might cost him a bit of innocence and trust.

"He didn't know anything about gang symbols until the teacher accused him," she said. "We moved to Pooler thinking he'd be in a more diverse school with better opportunities.

"And so far, it hasn't been a pleasant experience."

Thanks to Jonathan turley

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This page contains a single entry by Phil Leggiere published on November 4, 2008 1:54 AM.

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