Never Take A Knife To A Gunfight

It seems to be a given that government school teachers and (perhaps especially) administrators are idiots. But this is taking things to a hilariously new low.

Students at Beaubien Elementary School had some decidedly un-PC class t-shirts made. As if that weren't bad enough, the students actually had the gall to prove their point.

The issue centers on a 2003 vote for a class shirt at the school, 5025 N. Laramie. Students believed one concept won: The name "Gifties" written on the back and a caricature of a boy walking a dog on the front. But school administrators didn't like the design and kept the election results secret, telling students to take another vote, according to the federal complaint.

The students, who were in the gifted program, challenged the election and asked the school to disclose the results. Students and parents said they didn't get anywhere, so students decided to wear the "Gifties" design they believed won.

Next time, maybe those administrators will pick on someone their own (mental) size. Maybe they could find some kindergartners who won't stop coloring outside the lines.



At 10:13 AM, April 14, 2005, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I did some research on this case, and found that there's another factor at play. Apparently, the caricature on the t-shirt was of a physically deformed child, and the "gifted" kids thought it was funny ("ironic," they said) to put the label "gifties" on this screwed-up looking kid. Does this change your opinion of the maligned 8th-graders?

This is from a footnote in the judge's opinion:

For the benefit of those whose eighth-grade education has not provided a sufficient definition, the relevant meaning of the word "irony" is "the use of words to express something other than and especially opposite of the literal meaning." Webster's Collegiate Dict. (1996, 10th Ed.) at 619. In Plaintiffs' case, an image and a word combine to produce the alleged irony, but the definition still illuminates this situation. Plaintiffs have alleged that the depiction of a boy with an enormous head, misshapen teeth, one dilated pupil, and a missing right hand is ironic because of the appearance of the word "Gifties" on the other side of the shirt. In other words, given the appearance of the boy on the front of the shirt, Plaintiffs liked the design because one would not expect such an image to be connected with gifted students. Indeed, Plaintiffs confirm this analysis in their opposition brief: "The boy in the Design does not look very bright. The eighth graders in the gifted program were thus poking fun at themselves." Plaintiffs conveniently omit that in making this joke, they are also "poking fun" at those with physical deformities. Plaintiffs deride: "Unfortunately, the humor and satire was lost on Defendants." Plaintiffs may rest assured that the Court gets the joke.

At 1:25 PM, April 14, 2005, Blogger Master Doh-San said...

It could be that the design of the shirts was in poor taste (we'd love to see the picture). But the Bigger Picture remains the same: the First Amendment was not written to protect popular speech, but to protect unpopular speech. In addition, the actions of the school administrators remains reprehensible. Was this the worst thing going on at that school? No one was being bullied in the schoolyard? No drugs being dealt in the restroom? No cheating on tests? Was the shirt really making fun of people with "physical deformities"?

It's all part of the same old effort to stamp out anything that smacks of individualism.


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