Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Stupid and Unusual Punishment

     You've heard countless stories of creative ways high school boys asking a special girl out to prom. Some write songs or wrap. Some post videos on youtube. James Tate of Shelton High School, Connecticut, had his own technique. He climbed a ladder and taped cardboard letters onto the front of the school letter spelling out
    Though Sonali said yes, the couple was banned from prom. Apparently, Tate was banned from prom for trespassing and "risking his life" climbing up on a ladder.
     Excuse me? I can think of a hundred more dangerous things to do than climbing a ladder on school property. A second grader  jumping off a swing on a monitored playground would be more at risk than Tate was. Trespassing? I've personally seen two girls "trespass" on school grounds, wave to a teacher, and go on their merry way. Oh, and they were endangering their lives, too. They were standing under a tree. What would we have done if a pinecone had fallen down, hit one of the girls on the head, knocked her into her friend, and killed them both? Standing under trees is very risky business.
     It wasn't as if Tate was vandalizing the school. He used tape, not spray paint. Give him a punishment that fits the crime, like a 1,000 word essay. Besides, has anybody thought about poor Sonali? This is their senior year. They should be able to look back on it as a happy experience.   The trouble with school officials is that they too often get caught up in rigid rules and protocol. This is yes another example of the "stupid, reckless teenager" stereotype. There was no damage done. It was a sweet, harmless display of affection.
    I'm not the only person upset. The mayor of Shelton is involved in their case, not to mention a 40,000 person Facebook group. Their story has been featured on Yahoo! news with 2,040 comments. Not a single one thought the punishment was just. Many of these outraged people are teens. It's great to see young people willing to take action for what they feel is intolerable.
     I give the school officials forty-eight hours at the most before Tate is invited back to prom.

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