The cheerleaders were jumping about and shaking their pom poms. The band was playing. The football players were standing proudly. The students were cheering and pounding on the bleachers. This was the scene at the high school pep rally. And then, seemingly out of nowhere, someone dressed entirely in lime-green spandex - even covering his head and face (think Fluorescent Green Power Ranger) - came running and dancing out onto the floor. The students laughed and applauded, and the principal quickly grabbed the pep rally crasher and escorted him out.
Now, had this happened when I was in high school, the offender would have likely received a D-hall, everyone would have had a good laugh, and that would have been the end of it. But it happened last week at Daughter's high school.
The Green Man, as he has come to be known, was suspended for three days. AND! He got a ticket. Yes, as in a citation from the police. Something about disrupting educational time. It's costing him $500.
Find this ridiculous? Well, you're not the only one. The students rallied behind Green Man, and one day last week, everyone wore green to support him. This is a school with over 3500 students. That's a lot of green.
I don't know the fate of Green Man. I have to say that if I were his parents I'd be fighting this one tooth and nail. Yes, he deserves to be punished. Some kind of detention, or even a day of suspension. But a $500 ticket that will go on his record? That just seems a little extreme.
I think back to the things we used to do in high school and how it would be handled today. Like the massive, school-wide game of Assassin we played when I was a sophomore. One student - I don't even remember who - was the "Godfather", and the students paid money to play. Each player was assigned another player to "assassinate" - we all carried suction-cup dart guns around with us all day, and if you saw your target in the halls, you could "shoot" at them. If you hit them, they were out of the game and you then got their person to go after. You could also fire in defense if you were drawn on. The last person standing won the pot. It was a lot of fun.
If that happened today, it would likely go down as an act of terrorism. All students caught with suction-cup dart guns would be expelled and thrown in jail. It would be all over the news.
What do we have to blame for this "zero-tolerance" attitude they have in schools today? 9-11? Maybe. But gone are the days when a couple of guys could have a fistfight after school then be buddies again the next day. Today both kids would be arrested. No disruptions whatsoever are tolerated, for fear that they be a serious threat rather than a fun game or prank.
Yes, these are the time we live in now. While I certainly want my students to be safe at school, it does sadden me a bit that punishments are so harsh for kids just being kids. I think the Green Man was kinda funny.
I'm just glad he wasn't nekkid.
The First Week of Part-Time Teaching
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