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23843004_BG1An Illinois school admitted they overreacted Thursday when they asked a student to change out of his Halloween costume before being allowed to return to class.

Marshon Sanders says his Highland Park high school forced him to take off his Jesus costume after a handful of teachers complained.  Initially school officials said Sanders’ outfit—a white robe, red sash, gold cross, and wig—violated school policy that prohibits costumes that “could be offensive or perpetuate a stereotype of someone’s culture, gender, sexual orientation, heritage or religion are not permitted,” but later changed their mind.

While some teachers found the high school senior’s outfit distasteful, Sanders says his intention was not to poke fun at the religious figure at all.

“I wanted to be Jesus because I just got baptized,” he explained to a local Fox affiliate. “He’s the most influential person in my life.”

Sanders’ mother, Angenetta Frison, encouraged her son “to dress as someone inspiring or uplifting,” and felt the school overreacted to her son’s Biblical attire.

“They realized they might have been premature and didn’t really assess the situation,” she said.

According to the Fox 32, Frison also wondered if the image of a Black Jesus rubbed some the wrong way.

“Race is an issue in our country,” Frison explained. “We still struggle with racism. I don’t know if that was a factor, but it may have been. Would a Caucasian student dressed as Jesus have had the same effect?”

While school spokeswoman Melinda Vajdic said officials were concerned because “costumes trivialize” things, Frison notes that while she was on campus meeting with administrators about her son’s costume she spotted other students dressed as Moses.

Shortly before school dismissed, administrators released a statement admitting they were wrong.

“We initially were concerned that the costume could be offensive to religious sensibilities. Upon further review, we realized the student did not intend to be offensive.”

Interestingly enough, last year Sanders dressed up as the rapper Snoop Dogg and school officials didn’t seem to have any problem with that.

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  • Ariahead

    I don’t understand why this was offensive to anyone. You don’t like prayer in school? Fine. This was just a costume reflecting his personal beliefs. He wasn’t shoving it down anyone’s throat or making anyone pray with him. It was his costume. Have we come so far that we can’t even have self expression in school. I bet there were a few girls in there with really sexy costumes on that didn’t get a peep. I bet there were some boys in there dressed like athletes with criminal backgrounds. This was a personal choice. As long as nobody was being forced to worship at his feet, it was fine. Weather you believe or not, Jesus is a pretty wonderful guy. There are worse people that he could have dressed as.

    • Okay, it warmed my heart to see a young black man wanted to be Jesus, not PIMP Jesus, just Jesus. That shows me he takes his spiritually very serious, because he could have been anybody else.

  • Desiree

    Why are black people so preoccupied with Jesus? Oh, I know cause Master told you to be. Also, you cannot have religion in public schools. If you want to parade inspirational Jesus then pay the money to go to a Christian school. End of story.

  • Whitney’s Receipts

    Yeah, offended that a black boy had the audacity to dress as the messiah. But lets ignore the fact that jesus looked closer to the boy than to those white folks that were oh so offended.

    • Jesus din’t look like me and that’s ok

      Jesus probably looked more like Bin Laden then he did this boy. Jesus did not look like Kevin Hart or Chris Rock. That is a lie too.You ever been to Israel? Thank you.

    • Whitney’s Receipts

      You’re not very bright. The point of my comment was that Jesus was a person of color. I’m well aware of the area that Jesus is from. I’m also aware that jesus most likely looked like an Arab. Thank You.

  • Jesus din’t look like me and that’s ok

    Funny how much black people know about Jesus but ask them about African religions and religious figures in Africa before the slave trade and they would know nothing. God help us.

  • Jesus din’t look like me and that’s ok

    Why do these super zealous Christians want their Christianity all over everything? They want it in my bedroom, in the courts of Justice, in schools, everywhere. There is something called separation of church and state. If an institution is funded by the government as are public schools then they have to be very careful about not introducing religious ideals into the school. Otherwise, all other religions have to be taken into consideration. Calm down, if you love Jesus so much then pay the money it cost to send your kid to parochial schools. As typical with Christians, they hate logic. Your child’s Hollywood costumes should have limits when your child is parading it in school: limit on a specific religious ideal, limits on sexuality and limits on violence. Come on Christians, you can’t have everything ‘mmkay?

    • It amazes me that people of color (especially women) know what the bible says about slavery and women, but still continue to cherry pick instead of questioning the whole thing.