Girl kicked out of Christian school after refusing to take picture in bathtub

https://onlysky.media/hemant-mehta/girl-kicked-out-of-victory-christian-academy-bathtub-homework/

OK I want to note that at the time the right wing religious people are demanding it is grooming to say gay or talk about gender and that teachers who do so are pedophiles, this Christian school had an assignment of 8 year old taking  nude pictures of themselves or having someone else take a nude picture of them in a bathtub with a book.   This article is about a girl whose mother refused but there are boys in this class also.   How many pervy kids pictures got floated around that school and on the internet?   But mentioning LGBTQ+ or letting kids pick their own pronouns is the real threat to kids in schools?   Hugs

“This just does not sound OK,” said the girl’s mother
 
The assignment from Victory Christian Academy (screenshot via Action News Jax)
Reading Time: 3 MINUTES
 
 

Asecond grader was kicked out of Victory Christian Academy in Jacksonville, Florida after her parents refused to participate in an assignment that involved taking a picture of their child “doing reading homework in bathtub.”

 

When mother Misty Dunham saw the assignment from teacher Irene Castaneda, she wrote a note back to the teacher saying her 8-year-old daughter would do no such thing:

“I emailed the teacher ‘Hey, you may want to explain that. Send something out to the parents. Let them know what the intentions are.’ This just does not sound OK,” Misty Dunham said. “She did send out a message saying, ‘you should be in pajamas, be in your uniform, have fun with it.’ But, it didn’t sit right.”

Actually, what Castaneda wrote (according to a police report) was “We have been sending this homework assignment home for years, and you’re the only one complaining about it. Just cover your child in pillows or pajamas then.”

As if a picture of a clothed or covered-up child was the exception to the rule.

What the hell were people sending her in the past? (Actually, that’s a valid question for another reason. The school’s Facebook page says Castaneda was hired in August. So how does she know no one else has complained about it?)

If the goal was to have a little fun with the reading homework by having Victory Christian Academy parents take a picture of their kids reading in the bathtub with clothes on and no running water, that should’ve been specified. It wasn’t. When Dunham spoke with other parents about the situation, they were equally flippant, saying things like “Just cover your child up with something.”

Everyone was treating Dunham like she was ruining the fun rather than admitting she had a point.

That’s when Dunham and her husband reached out to the school’s administration as well as the local sheriff’s office. They just wanted to document their concerns more than anything else. (It’s not like anyone was going to be charged with wrongdoing over this.) A police officer advised them not to complete that portion of the assignment.

The story should have just ended there. It was a poorly-explained assignment that rightly upset these parents, the teacher should’ve apologized and clarified, and everyone could have moved on.

But days later, the family received a call from an administrator urging them to withdraw their child from the school. When they refused to do that, he said the school would kick her out anyway:

“(He said) ‘I think you guys should do a parental withdrawal for the child.’ I said, ‘I can’t. I can’t do that. We refuse to withdraw her,’” Misty Dunham said. “He said, ‘OK thank you for saying that,’ and continued on saying that, ‘Well, we’re going to proceed with an administration withdraw.’”

Pastor Jesse Latta later explained to Action News Jax’s Meghan Moriarty that the assignment was “innocent,” but “out of an abundance of caution and for there to be no misunderstandings, our administration has removed this particular assignment for any future use.”

That’s the right move. It actually shows the Dunhams had a legitimate complaint. So why the hell was their child kicked out of school?

No answer.

The whole incident is a microcosm of Christianity’s treatment of sexual abuse: A girl bravely said she was uncomfortable with what an adult was doing, and the church’s response was to punish the girl, not the adult.

It would have been so easy to take care of this problem, but the school’s reaction was to double down on the assignment until the media attention made that impossible, then they took their wrath out on the family, leaving them scrambling to find a new school and forcing the child to make new friends after the school year has already begun.

The family is worse off because they enrolled their kid in a Christian school. Thank goodness they’re sharing their story publicly so everyone else can understand how messed up these kinds of schools can be.

 

8 thoughts on “Girl kicked out of Christian school after refusing to take picture in bathtub

  1. Uhhhh … I think the mother overreacted. While I definitely do not condone the school for their idiotic suggestion, I do think the mother took it further than was intended. By the same token, I think the school overreacted by kicking out the innocent kid.

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    1. I’m not entirely sure it’s an overreaction just by the parents. More a case of parents and school talking past each other. As an autistic, this is something I experience every day. Even though after 70 years I’m fully aware that it can and does happen, the other party usually refuses to recognise that there is a communication problem – they’re always right and I’m always wrong.

      I don’t see the parents’ original response (their comment on the homework assignment schedule) as an overreaction, as for myself, the only interpretation I made when I first read it was to to picture a person taking a bath with perhaps some appropriate censorship. If the school had simply explained that what they were after was a picture of the student reading in a setting where one would not be expected to read, then it would have all blown over. Multiple suggestions such as up a tree, or hanging from a some playground apparatus or floating in a pool would have been less open to misunderstanding. Even suggesting that a picture should be censored such as hiding a pyjama clad child in a pile of pillows can be misconstrued.

      The problem here was that both parties refused to consider that there was a case of miscommunication by the other party or by themselves, and it escalated from there. However, I think in this case, the fact that it was a religious school is totally irrelevant, and although they often deserve criticism, this is not such a case, and calling it out because it is a religious school conflates the issue.

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    2. And I would not have been at all comfortable with the assignment. That said, the kid would have gotten his Legos and created a workstation in the tub, and then got me to take a pic of him, dressed however, reading some book that had been banned at one point or another (he’s never been a dumb one.;-) ) That’s just the kid, from about second grade on. I’d have done it with him. As long as he got the grade, I’d not have said anything else.

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  2. I appreciate the US is not NZ, but calling this issue out as being because it was a religious school is conflating the issue of religion in education.

    I can recall something similar occuring way back in the late 1960s or early 1970s in the city where I lived at the time. local Friends (Quaker) school had set their senior students a task to read “Towards A Quaker View Of Sex” and to comment on it. It caused something of a stir at the time not only from religious conservatives, but from the public, and the secular school system did not approve at all. Not only was homosexuality considered immoral at that time, and still regarded (officially) as a mental disorder, but homosexual activity was illegal. That any school, let alone one that had a religious foundation, should discuss such an issue was simply unthinkable at the time.

    The Quaker document certainly was a product of the late 1950s and early 1960s, and by today’s liberal standards is quite outdated, but it does illustrate how religious perspectives can at times be well ahead of public perception. When you consider that homosexual acts were not decriminalised in this nation until 1984 you can understand why, more than 20 years earlier, the local newspapers reported almost unanimous opposition to the school’s choice of topic both in the editorials and in the letters to the editor section.

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  3. I read an article on the AP this morning about the Republicans and church authorities stopping any legislation allowing public knowledge of sexual abuse of children, and others, by the priesthood, preachers, etc.

    https://apnews.com/article/sex-abuse-catholic-church-mormon-5d78129a2fe666159a22ce71323f6da3?user_email=d2087fa966ab20e3903b7edb1aac5707bfa0b669cadf2ce26e1afcd067f74a1f&utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Sep28_MorningWire&utm_term=Morning%20Wire%20Subscribers

    What is with the Republican party and any church that chooses the protection of pedophiles over the safety of children, while accusing everyone else of being pedophiles and blood-drinking monsters?

    Perhaps there was no ill intent, but with the history of the church, and present-day awareness of the abuses by the clergy, it is easy to understand a parent’s concern. If they’re paying attention to current events. Nobody does homework in the bathtub in any state of dress.

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