Teacher Rejects Second-Grader's Homework Because He Includes Stillborn Brother in Family Photo

Elementary school rejects student's project because of

It's so hard to deal with the loss of a loved one -- especially children, who don't always understand why it happened. Nicholas Millsaps is a 7-year-old student at Old Brooklyn Constellation in Ohio, who wanted to honor his late sibling in a creative way. Too bad his teacher rejected his second-grade project, that featured a family photo with his stillborn baby brother.


For Nicholas' assignment, he wanted to tell his class about his favorite things, and show off the family he loves. Coupled with his assignment were photos of his loved ones -- including his mom, Cassandra Hess, his stepdad Eric, and Noah, Nicholas' younger brother who passed away in March. Sadly, Noah was a stillborn at 36 weeks, after his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck and stopped his heart.

One can only imagine how this family is trying to cope with such an unthinkable tragedy -- that makes news of Nicholas' teacher denying his project quite sad. Not only was this 7-year-old asked to redo the assignment, but it seems the school principal agrees the photo with baby Noah was inappropriate for second-graders.

While I do understand we're talking about second-graders here, I find this decision a bit unsettling. Who said that Nicholas would go into some technical spiel about child loss and stillborn babies? This little boy didn't want to hide the fact that he has a brother who's now an angel, and very much a part of his family's life. The photo on the project shows Nicholas' parents holding baby Noah, who happens to look like he's sleeping. It's not vulgar, or in need of a warning label.

Would educators also deny projects from young students who loss a parent, sibling, or family member to an illness -- or fighting to protect this country and the well-being of others?

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Did anyone stop to think about the message this is sending to Nicholas? I would hate for him to feel ashamed in any way because of this.

I commend Mom for not changing the project. Even if Nicholas gets a bad grade, I'm sure the prospect of going to college is still bright.




Image via KFOR New Channel 4

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