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Utah Teacher Forces Student To Wash Off Ash Wednesday Cross

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A Utah teacher is on administrative leave after she made a 9-year-old Catholic student wash off the Ash Wednesday cross from his forehead.

Davis School District spokesman Chris Williams said Thursday that fourth-grade teacher Moana Patterson won't be teaching as the district investigates.

Karen Fisher says the teacher told her grandson William McLeod that the cross was inappropriate and forced him to wash it off in front of his classmates, leaving him crying and embarrassed.

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Patterson is employed at a Bountiful, Utah, school just north of Salt Lake City. She didn't immediately return an email seeking comment.

Williams says the teacher gave the student a handwritten apology.

More than two-thirds of Utah residents are Mormon and about 10 percent are Catholic.

Williams says he doesn't know the teacher's religious affiliation.