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article imageStudent Kicked Out Of School For Costume Portraying The Messiah

By Nikki Weingartner     Nov 2, 2008 in World
The Education System and Halloween; a never ending source of controversy with certain costumes eliciting national outrage. A 13-year-old New Jersey boy was ejected from school over his disruptive costume on Friday. What was the controversy?
A 13-year-old boy was sent home from a Paramus, New Jersey middle school because the child came to school for Halloween day dressed as:
Jesus Christ
Alex Woinski and around 500 other middle school students participated in the costume day, with Alex choosing a robe, sandals, fake beard and crown of thorns. The young teen was said to have become more interested in religion and studying the Bible. His mom is Catholic and father, Jewish. He also had long hair which his friends told him made him look like Jesus Christ.
But unlike 499 other kids, Alex was the only one sent home for what West Brook Middle School principal, Joan Broe called a costume that:
"... was offensive to some students"
Principal Broe did not feel her reactions were over the top, saying because too many other children showed an interest in the costume, she felt she had reason enough to send the young boy home. Their decision to send HIM home was, reported, not a religious one.
This calls into question several concerns:
Did the principal set the guidelines saying that no religious attire is permitted on school property? To forbid children from expressing their religious belief, specifically on a day of permissible costumes, with costume being the operative word, seems more of a violation of constitutional rights than disruption.
Are children in the school allowed to wear religious medallions and pray or are they forced to accept "no religion in school...period" as a zero-tolerance policy to maintain political neutrality?
The principal said the costume was offensive to "some", but so is a false super hero or a sensationalized teen killer, as in the movie Scream. If polled, I wonder how many costumes of the 500 were without some controversial facet?
In a parallel that symbolically portrayed the REAL Jesus Christ, the young man was indeed condemned for his expression and sharing that peaceful and non-violent belief. His portrayal of the Messiah created offense in some, but it also elicited interest in many others. An as Alex told CBS 2, the situation was "Sort of like a new remake of what supposedly happened."
Remember, on school costume days, acceptable costumes are those depicting fake blood, zombies, the devil, past murderers, french maids, evil witches and anything that resembles a horrific death figure, all of which are considered reasonably OK.
As far as drawing attention to the costume, Broe's decision to exile the young boy for his costume probably helped bring more attention to her over the top reaction than the costume itself.
See a picture of the costume here.
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