Uproar After School District Adds ‘Inappropriate’ Drawing to 11-Year-Old Student’s Record
A drawing made by an 11-year-old at a grade school in Michigan caused controversy after school officials believed that a bow tie she drew on a pig resembled a phallic object.
Administrators added the student drawing to her disciplinary record, causing an uproar on social media after the student’s mother, Sierra Carter, decried the decision on TikTok.
“A little boy had come up to her and made her aware that he thought my daughter drew boy parts on her pig project,” Carter said in a Jan. 17 TikTok.
Carter shared an image of her daughter’s drawing in the video.
@sierraleann30 Replying to @victoriaupdike ♬ Colors – Stella Jang
“My daughter told the teacher right away that she drew a bow tie,” the mom said.
Carter told TikTokers that she met with the school’s teacher, the principal, and a school social worker, who all believed the drawing was not school-appropriate. She defended her daughter’s drawing, saying that it was other people’s “problem” if they believed it looked like something other than a bow tie.
“To her, a bow tie is a bow and a tie,” Carter said. “And if another kid happened to look at it and think that it was something else, that sounds more like a he problem, not a she problem.”
“If another kid happened to look at it and think that it was something else, that sounds more like a he problem, not a she problem,” the Michigan mom said in a TikTok video. https://t.co/3BMo3lSwLd
— Rock Hill Herald (@RHHerald) February 3, 2023
Social media users were quick to side with the mother for the most part, with many saying that the school was overreacting and that removing the artwork from school records was unnecessary.
— PaigeMe (@MelissaPPittman) January 25, 2023
School administrators, however, said that they were simply acting according to school guidelines to keep students safe and remove unnecessary classroom distractions.
“In performing that responsibility, they strive to follow all legal and policy requirements,” he continued. “Any decisions related to this matter were made consistent with, and in furtherance of, those principles.”
Hanover-Horton School District Superintendent John Denney said that the mother is pushing a ‘one-sided narrative’ and that school staff handled the situation with ‘compassion and discretion.’
Some Twitter users did side with school administrators, agreeing that the drawing looked like a phallic object.
Not saying she did it knowingly, but I can see how a 5th grade boy would see that the way he did.
— Alicia Morris (@aliciavm25) February 3, 2023
“It is unfortunate that a one-sided narrative has been created on social media that paints our staff in a negative light,” Denney told McClatchy News. “As with every situation, there are two sides to this story. In this case, a student appropriately brought concerns to the attention of our staff. In response, our staff handled the situation with compassion and discretion. The staff contacted the student’s parents to discuss the situation. No student was singled out or ostracized. Every effort was made to protect the privacy and dignity of all students.
“Nothing has been placed in any student’s school records related to this matter,” he continued.
Denney further defended the school’s decision by saying that while they have made note of the issue, the student’s file does not refer to the drawing.
“As it stands right now, they are basically notes that can be referred back to if there were any significant issues through the end of the year. Her official file has no reference to or indication of the situation in question. “This is not a case of holding something over her head, even though it may feel that way,” Denney continued. “ … It is our way of giving a bit of a break while still having something to accurately look back on if a similar thing occurs later in the year.”