Saturday, October 28, 2006

School Shorts

I have two rather...interesting...stories for you today from the world of public high schools.

First, in a move that has caused shock and consternation the world over, two new york high school girls were forbidden from wearing their Captain Underpants costumes to school for Super Hero Day. The costumes consisted of nude-colored leotards and stockings and a pair of briefs and a red cape to complete the ensemble. Although the girls were not naked, and the costumes were not see-through, the girls were sent home because the principal deemed that they "looked" naked.

I really can't decide which aspect of this is the stupidest. However, I could see myself donning something similar and thinking it was a good idea in high school, so I'm going to go with the high school: This was not completely outside of a foreseeable range of possibilities. These books are very popular with school-aged children, and I'm sure the absurdity of them makes them at least somewhat popular with high school kids, at least as a topic of jokes and conversation. Narrow it further, and I don't think it's a stretch to consider students' showing up in any kind of nudity-simulating garb to be outside of the range of possibilities when you have a costume-y theme-y kind of day. Beyond that, I think it is probably standard procedure to include in a dress code down on paper somewhere that no form of underwear be visible at any time. What I'm saying, is that the school should have worked this sort of thing out before announcing the day and sent around a handout describing acceptable guidelines for the students' outfits. Handled correctly, this situation would not have become even lukewarmly debated.

Second, we have the principal who gave his student a wedgie--and wasn't fired. In fact, all he was given was a six-day suspension, and four of those days were with pay. According to this principal's superintendent, although the behavior was clearly "inappropriate, unprofessional and unacceptable," it did not merit termination.

You really should click on the link and read some of the quotes the locals managed to produce. The whole thing is entirely absurd on such a grand scale because there are people who are just as vehemently supporting the principal as there are those who are outraged.

At the end of the day, here's what it comes down to. Many people may really like this principal as a person, but he is clearly not fit to be a high school principal. One of the first things that has been drilled into people working with children nowadays is to be careful how you touch children. You don't want lawsuits. I worked in a day camp one summer, and they simply told us, "It's sad, but you can't have them in your lap because we don't want to get sued." Also, in a work environment, when is it ever a good idea to touch someone's underwear??? That principal was at work, and some schools of thought would suggest that the student was too. Either way, wedgies are, to say the least, grossly unprofessional.

But here's big thing about the principal giving your child a wedgie: It's like the state government itself gave your child the wedgie. That principal is a state employee and more often than not a state actor while at his job. Think about the intimacy that you've quietly allowed your government by not being angry over this. The state has touched your child, and thats more than a little scary to me.

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