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US Secret Service questions student on drawings
Updated: 2004-04-28 10:30

U.S. Secret Service agents questioned a high school student about anti-war drawings he did for an art class, one of which depicted President Bush's head on a stick.

Another pencil-and-ink drawing portrayed Bush as a devil launching a missile, with a caption reading "End the war -- on terrorism."

"If this 15-year-old kid in Prosser is perceived as a threat to the president, then we are living in '1984'."

- Kevin Cravens, friend of the unidentified boy's family

The 15-year-old boy's art teacher at Prosser High School turned the drawings over to school administrators, who notified police, who called the Secret Service.

We involve the police anytime we have a concern," Prosser Superintendent Ray Tolcacher told the Tri-City Herald newspaper.

Secret Service agents interviewed the boy last Friday. The student, who was not arrested, has not been identified.

The school district disciplined him, but district officials refused to say what the punishment was. Tolcacher said the boy was not suspended.

The artwork was apparently part of an assignment to keep a notebook of drawings, according to Kevin Cravens, a friend of the boy's family.

The drawing that drew the most notice showed a man in what appeared to be Middle Eastern-style clothing, holding a rifle. He was also holding a stick with an oversize head of the president on it.

The student said the head was enlarged because it was intended to be an effigy, Cravens said. The caption called for an end to the war in Iraq.

A message left by The Associated Press with an after-hours duty officer with the Secret Service in Washington, D.C., was not immediately returned on Monday.

"If this 15-year-old kid in Prosser is perceived as a threat to the president, then we are living in '1984'," Cravens said.

Tolcacher insisted it was not a freedom of speech issue, but a concern over the depiction of violence.

"From what I saw, [school officials] were right to be concerned," Prosser Police Chief Win Taylor said.

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