My daughter’s fifth grade class had a school fundraiser called the Cake Walk. Fifth graders would make cakes with different designs and themes and they would go up for bidding to raise money for the school. Violeta decided to design a cake based on her favorite anime TV series “Death Note”.
The anime is a story about a crime fighting vigilante who makes a pact with a demon to kill criminals. The vigilante writes the name of the person to he killed in a notebook, a long with the date, time, and cause of that person’s death. The Shinigami demon then causes the criminal to die exactly as written in the notebook. It was very popular, action packed suspense anime and Violeta seized the idea. I suggested she choose a more popular anime like Attack On Titan, but Violeta was determined.
She worked hard on the cake, got a lot of help from Kathy, and was very proud of her accomplishment. On the Thursday before April vacation she brought her cake to school. Shortly after noon Kathy received a phone call from school. A parent had objected to Violeta’s cake as “not appropriate for elementary school” since the manga series was rated age 16+. The cake had been removed from the display area and Violeta would be given the option of changing the cake or taking it home. “Violeta is not going to like this” Kathy said. “I’m afraid she might get angry and throw the cake or something”.
I called the principal’s office. Ms. Montevecchi told me that she appreciated the work Violeta had put into the cake, but this was a schoolwide event and a first or second grade child might find her cake intimidating. I said “I understand but I know she’s going to be upset and she will not want to alter her work. Images of Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison singing “Girl we couldn’t get much higher” in Oliver Stone’s film “The Doors” ran thru my head. “I can see Vi digging in her heals”, I told Montevecchi. “Let me come over and we’ll talk to her”.
Violeta’s class was on a field trip and anticipated back at 1:30p.m. It was 1:10 when I started my Corolla and headed over to the school. As I approached I saw a big yellow school bus pulling in the school lot. “Damn it, they’re earky”, I thought. I went to Ms. Montevecchi’s room and waited. Ms. Krinsky, the School Adjustment Counselor, had shown up, anticipating a potentially unpleasant situation. Violeta entered the front door with her classmates, saw me talking with Ms. Krinsky outside the principal’s office, and said, “Am I in trouble?”. We assured her she wasn’t. Ms. Montevecchi told Violeta of the parent’s objection. Ms. Krinsky offered the suggestion of Violeta changing the cake design.”I wouldn’t have time to do that” Violeta said. “I said “Remember last year when you were Frida Kahlo for the Wax Museum project? You know how we told you certain pictures from Frida Kahlo we couldn’t use because there were kids too little to understand them ? Its sort of like that Vi”. , I said. “Okay. I’ll take it home” Violeta replied. “Vi. You’ve just joined Abbie Hoffman & Kurt Vonnegut among my heroes who have been censored. You did a great job and have nothing to be ashamed of “. It was minutes before school was due to get out. “Can I sign Vi out for the day?” I asked. As we walked to the car I inquired, “Did you have lunch on your field trip?” “Not much Dad. It was yucky” she said.” Okay, let’s go to Panera and get something. Mom and I were going to have lunch before the school called us…and I guess we have cake for dessert!”