• Boy forced to remove Ash Wednesday cross from forehead at school

    By: Ann Smajstrla, Cox Media Group National Content Desk

    Updated:
    BOUNTIFUL, Utah -

    An elementary school student in Utah said his teacher forced him to wipe off an Ash Wednesday cross on his forehead, and now the teacher is apologizing.

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    William McLeod, a fourth-grade student at Valley View Elementary School in Bountiful, Utah, told KSTU-TV he was the only student with an ash cross on his forehead Wednesday. William said he explained to his peers that he is Catholic, and that Wednesday was the first day of Lent.

    Then, he said his teacher approached him.

    “She took me aside and she said, ‘You have to take it off,’” William said. “She gave me a disinfection wipe -- whatever they are called -- and she made me wipe it off.”

    William’s family was angry when he told them of the incident and called the school. His grandmother, Karen Fisher, said she received a call from the teacher.

    “I asked her if she read the Constitution with the First Amendment, and she said, no,” Fisher said.

    Now, the Davis School District is apologizing for the incident.

    “Why that even came up, I have no idea,” Chris Williams, a spokesperson for the district, told KST-TV. “When a student comes in to school with ashes on their forehead, it’s not something we say, 'Please take off.'"

    William said he received a handwritten apology from his teacher and a piece of candy. The school district is investigating the incident, Williams said, and the teacher could face disciplinary action.

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