Teacher apologizes for asking boy to remove Ash Wednesday cross on forehead

  • Utah teacher apologizes for asking a boy to remove the Ash Wednesday cross on his forehead
  • The educator said she thought the ashes were dirt
  • The boy’s grandmother said she’s not quite ready to accept the apology
Image capture by Fox 13 News Utah via YouTube video

The Utah educator who made the headline this week after she told her student to wipe off an Ash Wednesday cross on his forehead asked for an apology during a March 11 news conference, The Compass News shared.

Moana Paterson said she thought the ashes were dirt and she had no idea it was a religious symbol; that is why she instructed the boy to wash it off from his forehead.

“When I learned it was a sacred symbol for Ash Wednesday, I immediately apologized to the boy and his family. My entire life has been centered around respecting diversity.

“I would never, ever intentionally disrespect any religion or any sacred symbol. It was a total misunderstanding. I hope that we can move forward and build understanding together.”

Karen Fisher, the grandmother of the student, based on an NBC News story, said she’s not quite ready to accept the apology yet because the teacher pressed the boy to remove it even after he explained its significance two times.

The grandmother does not want the teacher to lose her job or cause any damage to her but said a break is warranted to ensure she and others in the community would respect other traditions.

Patterson did not mention her religious affiliation in the conference. Majority or two thirds of Utah population are members of the Mormon Church which do not observe Ash Wednesday. Catholics are only of minority which accounts at ten percent of the population.

The teacher, too, reached out to the student later in the day and offered him a candy and a handwritten message.

Image capture by Fox 13 News Utah via YouTube video