Five-year-old Emma Burton of Olathe, Kansas had a rough day at kindergarten recently. When her mom Julie picked her up that day, Emma's teacher was escorting the little girl from class, because Emma was in full meltdown mode. As the teacher approached Emma's mom, she angrily explained the situation:
"Emma would not color this Jayhawk today with the rest of her class. She told me she does not like KU and her family likes K-State. She asked me for a K-State picture instead but I told her this was her only option. She took the paper, crumpled it up, and threw in the trash can."
Julie Burton's reaction to Emma's willful disobedience in the face of her teacher's wrath? She laughed. Ah, a mom after my own heart.
Apparently Emma's class was given the assignment of coloring in a Jayhawk, the mascot of the University of Kansas, as part of an overall celebration of the state of Kansas. When Emma refused, her teacher told her that the assignment had nothing to do with school allegiances, and that Emma could throw the drawing in the trash when she got home.
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In response, Emma asked for a Powercat—the mascot of Kansas State. When Burton was told there weren't any Powercats to color, she threw the Jayhawk in the trash. Emma explained that not only was she uninterested in coloring the Jayhawk, throwing it in the trash at her home wasn't an option ... because she wouldn't bring a Jayhawk in the house.
Julie was left with the dilemma on how to handle things with Emma, saying,
I ended up telling her that Scott and I were not mad at her. She would not receive a punishment from us. We were actually proud she fought for her school and did not back down. BUT, she could have handled herself a little differently with her teacher. She did not need to cause a scene by destroying the Jayhawk page by throwing it away. She did not need to have a meltdown and refuse to carry any of her belongings outside. I asked if she would please color the jayhawk, just for her teacher, and be done with it.
Personally, I think Julie came up with the perfect solution. No one wants to hear that their kid got in trouble for defying the teacher's assignment, but it was also a pretty lame assignment. The teacher may have said it was about Kansas in general rather than one specific university, but, well, come on. It's a school mascot. And frankly, I think it's great that little Emma felt strongly enough about her parents' alma mater to stand up for what she believed in.
Emma did color the Jayhawk that night and presented it to her teacher the next day along with this fantastic Powercat-themed apology note:
So, if you're thinking that Kansas State is in LOVE with this kid after hearing about the story—which Emma's mom Julie detailed on her blog—you'd be right. She was recently honored during the Kansas-Kansas State game as the school's fan of the game, and the Kansas State president reportedly wrote her a letter to jokingly offer her a scholarship for 2025.
Yeah, I'd keep that "joking" letter if I were Emma's parents. Although something tells me Emma Burton's got a pretty bright future wherever she chooses to go to school.
What do you think about this story? Would you have supported your kid if they did something like this?
Image courtesy of Julie at Bug Bytes