Salinas Teacher Calls This Drawing “Offensive”

A week after a school Morgan Hill made national news for sending five students home for wearing American flag T-shirts on Cinco de Mayo, a school in Monterey County finds itself in the flag spotlight.

This one involves an art project. A Salinas middle school student said her teacher stopped her from drawing the American flag, while another student's picture of President Obama was praised.

Tracy Hathaway said the art teacher at Gavilan View Middle School told her daughter she couldn't draw the American flag because it was offensive.

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Hathaway said they were shocked when they heard what happened. They have met with the teacher and principal at Gavilan View Middle School, but were not satisfied with outcome of that meeting. When the parents asked the teacher what she thought was offensive about drawing, the teacher didn't answer them, Hathaway said.

The Hathaways now want a "real" apology.

"My daughter wasn’t trying to break any rules and she wasn’t trying to create a scene," Hathaway told Fox radio. "She was just expressing her view and saying this is America and I want God to bless it."

The Hathaways said the issue isn't about race, adding that the teacher is white.

Racism crept into the discussion following the Fox report. The school says it has received more than 200 e-mails and phone messages in recent days, most of them containing hateful and racist comments.

"(Messages say) that we have violated that student's First Amendment rights and the so-called teacher needs to 'get the hell out of my country,'" said District Superintendent Mike Brusa.

Brusa said another meeting is planned for later his week between the teacher, parents and Hathaway, and that an apology may be in order.

Although Brusa wouldn't discuss whether any disciplinary action has been taken, or will be, the teacher involved wasn't on campus Monday.

The incident actually happened several weeks ago, but KSBW television covered the story Monday night.

At the time of the Fox report, School District Superintendent Mike Brusa sent Fox the following statement:

When we were aware there may be additional concerns, I asked the administration to contact parents again to see if there is any expectations from prior contact that have not been met.  The Principal did so, and indicated the parents were satisfied that the situation had been handled.  They told the Principal they had twittered Fox and had indicated that the situation had been handled.  Secondly, there are 3,000 students in the district, 250 employees, and parents that go with the students.  Every day there are many interactions that occur between all these individuals.  As I indicated, this event occurred several weeks ago, and in that time there would be literally thousands of events large and small between the people involved with the school.  This was one small event that did not even come to the level of my office.  There is an informal and formal process that is used to resolve issues.  The school administration and the parents did not view this as significant enough to bring it to the Superintendent’s office.  Thank you for allowing me to clarify this situation.

KSBW contributed to this report.

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