Sunday, November 02, 2008

Alex Woinski, Jesus Christ Superstar

A 13 year old boy dressed up as Jesus Christ for Halloween.

The boy, Alex Woinski, of West Brook Middle School in Paramus,New Jersey was sent home from school on Friday because he declined to remove his costume when school officials told him to.

Alex,with his naturally shoulder length brown hair, wore a white robe, red sash,sandals,fake beard and a crown of thorns. School officials were all right with the white robe and red sash but insisted that the crown of thorns and beard be removed. The District Superintendent, James Montesano, felt that the entire costume would be too "distracting" during the course of the school day.

Alex, who just celebrated his Bar Mitzvah and is studying Bible scripture,said no deal.
The boy's mother is Catholic and his father is Jewish. He recently celebrated his bar mitzvah and has spent much time studying scripture in preparation.

As a veteran teacher, I have seen a lot of creatures come into school on Halloween in my thirty five years of teaching experience, all of them "distracting". As a faculty we chalked up this past Halloween day to fun and fantasy, maintaining a sense of humor, as we usually do. The children I teach, Alex's age group, eighth grade, are heavy into demonic fantasy and slash/gore. I would have welcomed Alex's Jesus Christ personage and it would have given my students pause to think about their costumes. In censoring him a teachable moment was lost. Even though I can't speak of my religious faith in public school, I could have used the opportunity to note that no one thought to come dressed as Ghandhi,Buddha,Mother Theresa, Benjamin Franklin, Noah, Ghengis Khan or Zeus. All of these aforementioned are covered in the Social Studies curriculum, including Jesus Christ...a teachable moment was lost.