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Family photo of dead baby causes controversy in Cleveland school

Photograph of stillborn baby causes controversy at Cleveland school (Source: WOIO) Photograph of stillborn baby causes controversy at Cleveland school (Source: WOIO)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

Cassandra Hess says a family picture on a poster has put her at odds with her son's second-grade teacher at Old Brooklyn Community Elementary and Middle School in Cleveland.

Seven-year-old Nick Millsaps Jr. was told to create a poster over the Thanksgiving holiday that was all about him.

When the project reached the section about his family, his mother says there was someone he did not want to leave out.

He chose a photo that included his brother Noah, who was stillborn.

"I gave him the photo album. I asked him to pick out a photo, and that's the one he chose. He said he wanted everyone to see his baby brother. Everybody in his class, half the people in school know what happened, and that's why he doesn't understand why he can't show the photo of his brother," Hess tearfully said.

Noah's teacher said he would need to remove the picture.

"The principal was really rude about it. She's like, 'I can't allow you to show a picture of a dead baby.' I said, 'You can't tell he is not a living baby. It looks like a family who just had a newborn baby,'" Hess said.

The Old Brooklyn Elementary & Middle School principal, Cherie Kaiser, released a statement:

"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."

Hess says her son was also told not to talk about his deceased brother.

School officials say that's not true.

"I know not everyone is going to understand what we go through, but I will not allow someone to tell myself or my son or any one of my children that they can not talk about their brother like he never existed," added Hess.

School officials say they still hope they can find some sort of compromise on the photograph.

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