GLEN ROCK – The school district has done an about-face on its decision to skip an annual American Legion coloring contest over a depiction of guns.
On Tuesday, NorthJersey.com and USA TODAY NETWORK New Jersey posted a story that Glen Rock was opting not to participate in the 2019 statewide contest for fourth- and fifth-graders.
Board of Education President Sharon Scarpelli had initially stated that it was an administrative decision.
“The administration had asked if they could be provided with a different picture. They were concerned over the display of guns in the picture,” Scarpelli said Monday afternoon, before the change.
In a 10:30 p.m. Tuesday statement on behalf of interim Superintendent Bruce Watson, Watson said he had received “a number of emails” about the decision.
“This has caused me to pause,” the statement read. “Perhaps I had too much concern for the impact of the picture. Today we look at everything thru a different lens when it comes to our students. There was no disrespect intended and now after listening to parents, I will reverse this decision and allow the pictures to go home for parents and students to decide if they wish to compete.”
The statement was sent by spokeswoman Angela Crawford.
This year’s coloring page features the “Four Pillars of the American Legion,” embodied in four service members and a banner recognizing the centennial of the veterans service organization. Three uniformed soldiers from 1919, 1965 and 2019, carrying guns from their respective eras, are pictured, along with a nurse from 1941. The page also contains the POW/MIA logo and a “battlefield cross,” a rifle stuck upward in the ground alongside a soldier’s boots and helmet.
Prior to Tuesday’s reversal, Glen Rock’s American Legion post had been told by school district officials that this year’s image was “inappropriate,” said Ken Frank, Post 145 vice commander. Frank said the post members felt “disrespected” over the district’s decision, as the schools had participated in past years.