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Photo of Stillborn Brother on Second-Grader's Class Project Creates Controversy

The Short of It

A Cleveland boy who included a photo of his stillborn baby brother on a class project stirred up controversy with his sweet gesture.

The Lowdown

Nicholas Millsaps' mom, Cassandra Hess, wasn't surprised her son wanted to feature a picture of his baby brother Noah on a poster about himself for a school project. Because ever since their angel baby died, his family has done everything they can to keep his spirit alive.

"He was stillborn at 36 weeks. The cord was wrapped around him four times, and his heart had stopped. By the time we caught it, it was too late," Cassandra tearfully recounted to Fox 8 TV.

Since that terrible day in March, his nursery remains untouched, and the family continues to talk about Noah. To show his love for his brother, Nicholas chose to include a picture of the family-of-four that was taken at Noah's birth on a poster to show his class on Monday. But his second-grade teacher at Old Brooklyn Constellation Elementary rejected the project.

"Given the age of the children in the class, we do not believe the subject of the photograph was appropriate. This decision was made in consideration of the best interests of all students in the class. I fully support the decision of the teacher," the school principal explained in a statement to Fox 8 TV.

Cassandra, who is expecting a baby girl in March, fully supports her son's decision to include the photo of Noah: "if they want to grade him lower, then they can grade him lower, because I refuse to make him feel as if he cannot be proud of his brother."

The Upshot

My second-grade daughter was asked to create a similar poster for her second grade class this week. I find myself wondering how I would feel in Cassandra's position. While it's impossible to know for sure, I'm pretty certain I would also beam with pride that my child still felt connected to a member of our family who had passed on.

That being said, it is worth considering how the other young students in the class might react to seeing a photo of a deceased baby. It's a tough call. Either way, it seems wrong of the teacher to deny the project.

Do you agree?

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