By Maxine Frisko | Contests and Suspensions Beat
A first-grader at Bass Lake Elementary received a one-day suspension Friday for a drawing he had entered in the school’s annual Earth Day art contest.
Flipper Johanesburg, 7, will be forced to stay home this coming Monday (pending parental appeal), for violating the district’s Good Taste in Youth Expression Act, for his crayon-drawing, “What a Beautiful World!”
BLE assistant principal Bot Hezley said the student’s contest entry shows a “lack of respect” for the assignment, especially for his choice of color combinations.
“R-E-S-C-P-T-E!” Hezley sang loudly from his office. “Dammit, did I spell that wrong again?”
School health officials are concerned about the boy’s mental state, in the wake of what recently happened.
“This clearly shows a student who may require some kind of medication,” said longtime nurse Wonkie Scrimpton. “We’ll have to consult the DSM first — if anyone even uses that anymore.”
Scrimpton hopes the punishment will serve as a learning experience for young Flipper, and help him develop priorities.
“I try to teach kids this mantra: ‘Mental health first; environment second; family third,’” the nurse said, “and art a distant fourth, just ahead of God.”
The contest was open to students in grades 1-5. First prize went to fourth-grader Shauna (Last Name Withheld). Her creation, titled “An Inconvenient Penguin,” is a photo-collage depicting a polar bear as he attacks a flightless bird using a flamethrower, amid sub-zero temperatures.
“It isn’t the best work I’ve done already,” Shauna admitted. “But it’s better than anything else.”
The school held ecology-related activities all week long. This year’s Earth Day theme at BLE was “Be Kind. Rewind.”