Marshon Sanders, a student in a Chicago-area school - Highland Park High School - was told to take off his Halloween costume because he was dressed as Jesus Christ, according to a WLS/ABC news article on Thursday.
Notifying the ABC news affiliate, WLS in Chicago, Sanders mother - Angenetta Frison - stated that her son was forced to remove his Jesus costume without being given a reason. She claims that there were students dressed up as Moses, priests, and Mormons without any concern by the school.
Frison asserts that she has instilled respect for great people in her son’s upbringing – and, she says, Jesus Christ is a great figure. She insists that there was absolutely nothing demeaning in the costume worn by her son. She said she had no concerns about her son’s costume when he left for school on Thursday as she had encouraged him to dress as someone inspiring and uplifting.
The school’s policy on Halloween costumes asserts that costumes that could be offensive or perpetuate a stereotype of someone’s culture, gender, sexual orientation, heritage, or religion are not permitted. The report says that a school spokesperson – Melinda Vajdic – said the costume could be seen as poking fun of Jesus or could be construed as a religious stereotype. She went on to say that she is sure that was not Sanders’ intent, but the school wants to maintain a culture of mutual respect.
Sanders is a member of Jesus Name Apostolic Church in Waukegan and also attends suburban Barrington’s Willow Creek Community Church.
According to the ABC report, Frison said that her son dressed up as Snoop Dogg and the school didn’t have a problem with it.
UPDATE: Sanders was allowed back in school with his Jesus costume on, after reconsideration of the school's authorities - probably after the publicity of the incident spread, as well.