PURCHASE LINE — A 7-year-old Purchase Line School District student will have her artwork hung for the next two weeks in an antique mall east of Punxsutawney, after her school refused to display it along with other works by her fellow students.
To mark her first 100 days in school, Emery Turner made a string heart — bordered with 100 empty .22-caliber shells.
“She likes to shoot,” her mother Samantha Turner said Thursday night. “We all shoot together. She’s really a good shot.”
And Samantha Turner thought her daughter’s idea for the artwork “would be cool. She showed the shape of the heart because that’s the kind of girl she is.”
But the artwork “promotes weapons,” district officials said in rejecting the work.
“She got graded on it,” Turner said. “All of the other students, their projects were displayed in the hall. Hers was not allowed to be.”
Turner said she did not want Purchase Line “to be thrown under the bus in any way,” because her daughter was not disciplined for her work, and district officials were “polite and nice” in discussing the matter.
Emery’s mother talked with elementary school Principal Travis R. Monroe and Superintendent Shawn L. Ford.
“We try to have a very sensible and compassionate response to a difficult situation,” Ford said this morning in Indiana, where he was attending a countywide in-service day for approximately 400 educators. “I was very appreciative of the parents discussing this with us in a positive manner. We would welcome additional discussions with them.”
Ford had other business on his plate, including another session of his district’s “Portrait of a Graduate” discussion series Thursday night.
“I guess Purchase Line could have been more harsh than they were,” Turner said. “I’m sad that society is the way that it is to make schools react the way that they had to.”
Emery’s mother “initially offered to print out a picture” of her daughter’s work. “That was also declined,” she said.
Emery was dejected, her mother said.
“She was sad when she came home. She was really bummed and thought it was unfair that others had their work displayed and she didn’t. She cried for 10 to 15 minutes, and then I said we could hang it up in the house.”
Then came another idea.
“Our next post is a little out of the ordinary for us,” Yoder’s Antique Mall stated on its Facebook page Thursday night. “However, Emery’s grandparents are vendors at Yoder’s Antique Mall and for this reason, along with several others, we feel Emery’s talent and voice should be heard.”
For the next two weeks, Emery’s work will hang at the business along Route 36 in Gaskill Township, east of Punxsutawney.
“Stop in at the Antique Mall some time in the next two weeks, check out Emery’s art work and make your own decision,” the mall operators posted. “If you would like to leave Emery a note of support, a container and paper is there for your use.”