Public, charter and private schools all across the United States work very hard to provide the best education available to every child regardless of their gender, race or social status. While most of the world has caught-up to this universal opportunity for education, there are still some countries that do not offer the same educational opportunities to all. Over the years, education has taken a few different twists and turns. Different ideas concerning the discipline of children have evolved as society has evolved. With each new generation, changes are made to accommodate the new students that enter classrooms.
With an educational philosophy that requires that every child attends school, there will be some students that don’t conform to rules as well. Some students will find themselves punished at school and receiving consequences more or less severe. But even school administrators don’t always get it right. In some cases, students were suspended for reasons that seem to completely defy common sense! If the administration is trying to play a game of “gotcha”, then they definitely succeeded. Some of the most outrageous suspensions are completely unbelievable and a ridiculous stain on the reputations of some poor kids. A suspension should send the message to the student and family that their behavior is not acceptable to allow them to remain in school for a period of time, but in the case of these 15 outrageous suspensions, it’s nothing more than a power trip gone bad.
15. Gun-Shaped Pop Tart
In Maryland, a seven year old boy chewed his Pop Tart pastry into a shape that resembled a handgun. The teacher took the matter to the Principal who promptly suspended the boy. As a result of the incident, the parents sued the school to have the ruling reversed. According to the principal of the school, the young man had several disciplinary problems and the situation was more about classroom disruption. While it is completely understandable that disruption to the classroom should be addressed, suspension is always a last resort. Keeping kids in the classroom as much as possible is the only way they will get a consistent education. It seems that the boy was singled out as a result of an extreme overreaction to a hot and very controversial topic.
14. Miami Heat Haircut
An 11 year old middle school student from Florida, decided to show some support to his favorite professional basketball team and his school flipped-out. They placed the boy in in-school suspension and called his parent who quickly agreed to make it more suitable for school (they claimed it was distracting and gang related). Instead of waiting, the school counselor decided to go ahead and shave the design off of the kid’s head. This is an example of an overreaction and hasty decision-making on the part of school officials. Sometimes the only distraction to the learning environment is brought about by the school itself. This poor kid just wanted to show some love to his team. Instead, he was taken out of some important instruction and given the label of a distraction and a troublemaker.
13. Shaving Head To Support Friend With Cancer
In 2014, a sweet little girl in the third grade, shaved her head to support her friend who lost all her hair fighting cancer. That’s a beautiful gesture for anyone, but the fact that it came from a young lady in the third grade is even more beautiful. But when she went to school, she was notified that she was being suspended for violating the school’s dress code. The school is a public charter school that does have a strict requirement, including no shaved heads for young ladies. Ok, so while this is technically the rule, it is all for the purpose of maintaining a specific standard of conduct for students. What about when the violation is for an absolutely beautiful and admirable purpose that is designed to inspire humanity? Well, the public outpouring of support for the little girl prompted them to make an exception in her case. I’d say that was a smart move.
12. Twirling a Pencil
A New Jersey seventh grade student was reportedly suspended and told that he could only return after getting psychologically evaluated. When he was spinning a pencil with a pen cap on top of it, another kid yelled out that he was making gun noises. So because some kid wants to overreact, or even potentially make the whole thing up maliciously, this kid has to face some pretty extreme consequences. Unfortunately, this is what happens when schools overreact and jump to serious conclusions instead of talking to students and offering to listen to what they have to say. It turns out that after a quick visit with someone in the mental health field, they cleared him as having no reason that he would want to harm anyone. What a shocking surprise!
11. Calling Teacher Cute
It is not uncommon for students to have a little crush on their teachers. This has happened for years and is likely to not go away anytime soon. In the case of a nine year old little boy who remarked that his teacher was “cute,” it was apparently reported to school officials as sexual harassment. Some reports have said that he also called her “fine” at the same time, but let’s be a little realistic here. The kid is nine years old and at most, just needed a little talk about what we do and do not need to say at school. Instead, the boy received a two day suspension. Since then, the story made huge headlines, the school district issued an apology and the principal who gave the suspension retired. Looks like a very simple situation turned into a huge mess.
10. Having ChapStick
While not officially suspended from school, an elementary school student was repeatedly denied access to lip balm at school because of a school rule prohibiting the item. This little girl got chapped lips all the time and her lips would often bleed as a result of having no relief at school. As she had been repeatedly told about the policy, she continued getting denied and was even informed that having ChapStick could get her suspended. So this little girl decided she would try to petition to get the policy changed. She gathered student signatures, spoke to classes and convinced the administration to review the policy. Reports are that the school changed the policy as a result of the efforts of this student. Now, the threat of suspension will not have to plague the minds of those with chapped lips at the school.
9. Helping Student Having An Asthma Attack
An asthma attack is no laughing matter and it is certainly not something to just ride out. In the case of a Texas eighth grader, he simply couldn’t sit back and watch a classmate suffer any longer. When a young lady informed her teacher that she was having an asthma attack, the teacher wouldn’t let anyone leave. Instead, she emailed the school nurse and waited for a reply insisting that students stay in their seats. After a few minutes the girl fell out of her seat and the young man couldn’t take any more. Sure, he said “F_ that” before scooping the girl up and taking her to the nurse, but to suspend this student when saving the life of another is absolutely ridiculous. Sometimes common sense isn’t so common.
8. Having Maple Leaf
Taking the war on drugs to a whole new level is this awful tale from a school in Virginia. A sixth grade kid in the gifted program was found with a maple leaf in his backpack. It was mistaken for marijuana and the student was suspended for a year. So much ended up happening as a result of the incident. The student had to be home schooled and was even charged in juvenile court! So after the misunderstanding was uncovered, all charges were dropped. You’d think that the school would be incredibly apologetic. Think again… the school forced the child to go to another school in the district and kept him under strict probation and subject to search for drugs. All because this leaf “looked” like it could have been a marijuana leaf.
7. Shaving Basketball Player’s Likeness Into Head
So a middle school student opted to show his support for his favorite player on the San Antonio Spurs basketball team, Matt Bonner. He did so by shaving Bonner’s likeness in the back of his head. Several schools may have a little problem with this, which is not the issue. The issue is that the boy’s mother actually called the school to verify that it would be acceptable before they got the cut. The boy’s teacher called a principal saying the cut was a distraction and the school sent the boy to in-school suspension. They claimed there must have been a misunderstanding because that type of cut violates school policy. When parents try to do the right thing and are given an answer, that answer should be honored. What a cowardly way to handle such a situation.
6. Eagle Scout Having Pocket Knife In His Car
“Be prepared” is the motto of the Boy Scouts of America. In the case of an Eagle Scout in New York, he kept a two inch knife along with other survival items in his vehicle and didn’t give it much thought. Apparently, the school has a zero tolerance policy pertaining to weapons on campus. The knife was even a gift from his grandfather, a nearby Chief of Police. Apparently someone mentioned that the boy had the knife in his vehicle to an administrator and that’s how the trouble started. The student found himself suspended from school for 20 days! Whatever happened to the idea of calling his parents and asking them to make sure he keeps the pocket knife at home instead of in his car? That probably would have solved the problem just fine.
5. Suspended For Bringing A Clock To School
When a teenage high school student in Irving, Texas came to school to show his teacher a digital clock he created out of a pencil case, a suspension and arrest was not quite what he had in mind. Student Ahmed Mohamed, aspired to become and engineer and wanted nothing more than to get feedback on his clock from the teacher. The teacher felt that it was a threat to her, thinking the clock looked like a bomb and reported the issue to administration, who called the police. While the police didn’t charge him with anything, his suspension stood. This hasn’t seemed to derail his plans as the situation gained massive media attention. He even got a compliment and an invitation to bring his clock to the White House by President Obama.
4. Accidentally Bringing Beer
When a 17 year old student from Livingston, Texas was packing his lunch one morning, he accidentally confused a beer can and a soda can. A likely story for sure that seems like a cop out by any kid trying to bring alcohol on campus. Except, the student did the right thing and turned in the beer to a teacher, unopened. The teacher gave the beer to a principal, who in turn suspended the boy for three days and sent him to an alternative school for two months! Following rules and procedures is one thing, but teaching a life lesson and rewarding a student for doing the correct thing is far more important. The school should be ashamed of itself and the student should be rewarded. There was an outpouring of support when the story hit, which shows that at least some folks still have some common sense!
3. Suspended For Tebowing
At the height of the movement around NFL Quarterback Tim Tebow, a few high school students started a trend at a local high school to do his signature move (called Tebowing) in the middle of the hallway to pay tribute to him and his Christian faith. This movement grew at the school and suddenly, lots of students were Tebowing in the middle of the hall, causing some traffic jams and likely some tardies to class. This should have been handled with a simple announcement to students that the hall was not the best place to pay tribute, but instead, the students were suspended from school for a day. The worst part is that they were not even warned to stop first. What an overreaction if ever there was one!
2. Holding A Door Open
A middle school student in Virginia was given a one day suspension for holding the door open for a visitor with their hands full. It seems very simple, but the situation was a little more complicated. The school had a very expensive security system requiring every visitor to ring a buzzer and look into a camera before being allowed in the building. Students had been warned not to open any exterior doors for visitors and told of the consequences. This kid was an honor student and recognized the visitor. While the policy is clearly in place for a reason, it seems a bit out of place to suspend this kid for having great manners. Maybe a conversation with the student about why the policy exists and how it is important for him to follow that particular rule would have been more appropriate.
1. Growing Hair For Locks Of Love
We had a student on the list suspended for shaving their head, so it seems fitting to have one suspended for growing their hair out. In Ohio, a high school student decided that he wanted to grow his hair long enough to donate to the charity “Locks of Love” that makes wigs for sick children. The only problem is that this length of hair violates the school’s dress code (what is it with schools having a problem with hair length?!). So when he was told that if he grows his hair past the allowed length, he would be sent to in-school suspension, he challenged the policy to the school board. The board commended him, but upheld the policy. He said he would gladly accept the consequence, but would not compromise.