Travis Grigsby loves playing drums, but he and his friend Alex Coday weren't able to play for two weeks after they were suspended. It started after the band's performance at a football game. Some kids on the drum line said they were talking about the best knots to use to tie up the drum equipment.Perhaps the story didn't unfold quite as these students say it did. I'm always open to the possibility that some kid is lying after having gotten in trouble. On the face of it, however, this does seem like the administration has overreacted and created a whole big situation when a nice sitdown with the kids involved could have smoothed everything over without creating an incident that hit the newspapers and will remain to create even more problems among the kids on the drumline.
"Someone asked if anybody knew how to tie a noose and Travis did admit he knew how to tie a noose," Kim Grigsby said.
Travis' mom said her son is almost an Eagle Scout, he knew how to tie it, but told his friends he wouldn't because you could get in trouble for that. Later, a black student on the drum line told the teacher he was offended.
"Travis was accused of using a racial slur for saying the word 'noose.' Then he was suspended for 10 days," Kim said.
She said the school district accused the boys of having a racially charged conversation about nooses, but Travis and Alex insist that's not what happened.
"I don't feel they let Alex or Travis tell their side of the story," Kim said.
Alex's parents wrote to the district saying this is pushing the kids apart instead of bringing them together. Other kids and parents agree.
"We just want what's fair for our boys," Kim said. "They're good boys, get good grades, participate in school activities."
The school did shorten the kids' school suspension to only five days, but it will affect their grades.
"They are being punished beyond what is even near reasonable," Kim said.
The school district said it can't comment because of privacy issues, but said no one is aware of any racial tensions at the school. The administrators said they did investigate it thoroughly.
Has the administration given students a list of words that are verboten? Oops, perhaps verboten is forbidden because it reminds people of Germans which makes them think of Nazis which makes them think of the Holocaust and thus, could offend people. Once you start allowing people to find offense at certain connections that they're making in their minds, the way is open to all sorts of charges that someone somewhere is offended.
(Link via James Taranto)
UPDATE: One of the kid's mothers has some comments on another website, Nice Deb, about the other student who made the complaint about feeling uncomfortable because of the word "noose." It turns out that he's had his own problems with his behavior.