From the "You Can't Make This Stuff Up" Department

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The New York Times article "School Bars Yearbook Photo of Student in Medieval Garb" speaks absurdly and hilariously for itself:

Patrick Agin, a high school senior in Portsmouth, R.I., was surprised by his school's refusal this fall to use a yearbook photograph of him dressed in medieval chain mail, with a broadsword over his shoulder…

…the picture ran afoul of its zero-tolerance weapons policy.

"Students wielding weapons is just not consistent with our existing policies or the mission of the school," said Robert Littlefield, the principal. "I think the picture speaks for itself."

And the story just gets better and better.

The high school mascot is a depiction of a Revolutionary War Minuteman carrying, yes, a rifle.

"That's an entirely different issue," Mr. Littlefield said. "I don't think anybody could reasonably construe a cartoon depiction of a soldier from 250 years ago as a threat to our educational environment."

But a photo of a student dressed in chain mail, well that's just the slippery slope to Columbine.

But wait , there's even more. The high school will allow the student to display his photo with his broadsword in the yearbook in the advertising section.

As the ACLU lawyer says, "It's a perfect example of bureaucratic ridiculousness." Amen.

Whole silly story here . Read it and weep, laugh, cry, and chortle.

Disclosure: I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU. But even if I weren't, this would still be a wacky story.

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  1. The only thing threatened by that picture is that dudes chances of getting laid!

  2. Dude’s going to need the armor and the sword once his classmates see the photo.

  3. I have nothing but respect for anyone who so thoroughly embraces their own geekdom.

  4. Except for he’s a Rennie, which is a filthy, dumbed-down, and peverted version of geekdom.

    On the outcast family tree, rennies are far closer to canries than they are to your lovely neighborhood dork.

  5. Is there any institution today that is not being run by complete whackaloons?

    I’m sure that that would make a shorter list.

  6. The worst part of zero-tolerance policies, for me, is the fact that they are only their to save the school’s own ass and very little else. I have a feeling the only reason they exist is so no one could pull a 20/20 hindsite and ask why they didn’t do something about the kid after all of the “warning signs.”

  7. Would people be more like to get a paper cut from the yearbook if they left a photograph of sword in?

    How can a photograph of a weapon break the “Zero-tolerance” policy? It’s just a picture!

  8. sticks & stones may break my bones but pictures of swords will never hurt me…zero tolerance is for those who refuse to use their brains

  9. “The only thing threatened by that picture is that dudes chances of getting laid!”

    Some of the LARPers I know get laid more often than Bill Clinton. I swear those groups double as weird sex clubs. The role playing doesn’t stop when the dice are put away

  10. For centuries the sword has been used by the white man to oppress the poor, peoples of color, and those of differing religious beliefs. So not only are swords dangerous weapons, their also symbols of hate and racism. Why not let a student dress up like a klansman while holding a hangman’s noose too?

  11. He’s not a rennie, he’s scadian. There is a difference.

  12. Right on Big Dan. and the minuteman has to go because colonial militias were mostly used to supress dissent during th revolution, and for keeping down the darkies.

  13. cg-

    I know your statment was sarcasm but you’re more correct than you think.

  14. Looks like he made his saving throw vs. zero tolerance.

  15. For centuries the sword has been used by the white man to oppress the poor, peoples of color, and those of differing religious beliefs.

    Dan, you are completely and utterly ignorant. Swords have been used by people of all colors against people of all colors for a couple of thousand years.

  16. The high school mascot is a depiction of a Revolutionary War Minuteman carrying, yes, a rifle.

    Michael Moore noticed in Bowling for Columbine that Columbine High School had a similar mascot, a depiction of which graced the sign at the school’s entrance.

  17. Is there any institution today that is not being run by complete whackaloons?

    What, you mean people like Dan T.?

  18. Some of the LARPers I know get laid more often than Bill Clinton. I swear those groups double as weird sex clubs. The role playing doesn’t stop when the dice are put away

    Actually, I agree with that. Although my experience with LARPers is thankfully limited (to digress, one of the things that annoy me the most with the concept of LARPing is that they take a concept that is inherently good, beating the crap out of each other with foam bats, but then they have to corrupt that with nerdy posturing and silly rules and regulations. This might be the liberterian of me talking, but the sport seems like it would be more enjoyable if they did away with the rules and just engaged in dressing like a femme and pummling each other. Heck, its not even dressing like a femme; I’m sure its fun to dress up like King Authur, but they take it too far when the fully memerce themselves into a character without any sense of irony.) but my expereinces with anime club revealed that geeks are apparently the most virile bunch around. I remember in highschool geeky 4’2” kids with a mullet and a chipped tooth would get more and better play than me, the bitter self-loathing outsider.

  19. Hey comrade Dan, why not let the student get his picture taken with a bucket of KFC fried in trans fat? That would be terribly insensitive.

  20. And really, the fact that a kid who got excited about playing Yu-Gi-Oh was having more sex than me only served to make me more bitter and self-loathing, making me even less appealing to the ladies. It was a vicious circle of double edged swords.

  21. Hey comrade Dan, why not let the student get his picture taken with a bucket of KFC fried in trans fat? That would be terribly insensitive.

    That wasn’t me, sorry. More handle spoofing.

  22. Dan

    I was sarcastic about actually caring, but I do beleive what I said about the militia.

  23. When will school administrators learn that saying “You can’t wear that!” just causes more trouble than it’s worth?

    If I were a high school principal, if I was upset with somebody’s clothing choices I’d go up to him or her in the lunchroom and pose with the student while a geek from the student newspaper took our picture. That would quickly discourage outrageous dress.

  24. I’m pretty sure it’s Jennifer doing the handle spoofing of me. She’s not a big fan of dissent on this board.

  25. Dan, try not confuse idiocy with dissent. Jennifer isn’t a big fan of idiots on this board, but that doesn’t mean she has any problem with people who disagree with her per se.

    So if she has a problem with you, its probably because you’re in the idiot bucket, not the dissent bucket.

  26. I really do wish there’d be no more handle spoofing. If one must, at least change the handle a little.

    Thoreau, your idea is brilliant!

  27. So if she has a problem with you, its probably because you’re in the idiot bucket, not the dissent bucket.

    Hear Hear!

  28. kohlrabi-

    I’d also dress and act like an even bigger geek than I really am, and insist that any student carrying contraband share it with me.

    My goal would be to make rebellious behavior as uncool as possible.

  29. At times I don’t think it can get any more uncool than it already is;

    http://i.somethingawful.com/fashion/myspaceSWAT/4.jpg
    http://i.somethingawful.com/fashion/myspaceSWAT/1.jpg

  30. Best quote of the NYT article…”I just really like the picture, and it’s one of the first good photos I’ve taken in a long time.”

    I’d really hate to see the rest of this kid’s pictures.

    As for the nerds getting all the play, it’s so true. I was on the debate team in high school, and I’ve never seen such rampant promiscuity and drug use as at a debate tournament. The best part was that all of the school administrators thought we were angels, so we did whatever we wanted…we had diplomatic immunity. Although…eventually my school did catch on (a few of the “losers on the debate team” decided to rat us out).

  31. I hate putting in effort to posts, I’ll just be lazy and blame obviously dumb comments on spoofers.

  32. Except for he’s a Rennie, which is a filthy, dumbed-down, and peverted version of geekdom.

    On the outcast family tree, rennies are far closer to canries than they are to your lovely neighborhood dork.

    and

    He’s not a rennie, he’s scadian. There is a difference.

    Rennies, canries, scadian – What the HELL are you talking about?!

  33. Rennie is those people who go to renaissance fairs dress up like complete freaks, never shower and creep you the hell out.

    Carnies are those people who operate carnivle rides, shower slightly more frequently, are missing their front teeth, and will most likely rape you if you where passed out in a room regardless of the sex of either party.

    SCAians are memebers of Society of Creative Anachronism who like to do LARPing. (Live action role-playing) They dress up in medevil clothing and play live action games of Dungeons and Dragons, only without the fantasy element.

  34. Carnies – that I know. The typo (“canries”) confused me. That other stuff is way below my radar.

  35. Rennies by far are at the bottom of the rung among the three listed (and most anything else I could list). Unlike nerds, they don’t have that semi-autistic love for a particular area of anything, they just like dressing up and preforming and run-down renaissance festivles.

    Remember that obese kid you knew in high school who was really into drama clases despite the fact that he had no talent, smelled slightly like spoiled eggs and didn’t have the balls to come out of the closet yet? Right now he’s at a Renaissance fair, still not out of the closet, and speaking in a faux-Elizabethan with little care about historical accuracy. As we speak, he’s probally at his cobbler booth hitting on some poor slightly overweight girl who’s half his age because he knows she has low enough self-esteem to sleep with him in order to prove to his friends that he’s straight.

  36. SCAians are memebers of Society of Creative Anachronism who like to do LARPing. (Live action role-playing) They dress up in medevil clothing and play live action games of Dungeons and Dragons, only without the fantasy element.

    All most but not quite. The SCA is not LARPing — it’s not a game. It much closer to living history or re-enactment groups.

  37. For centuries the sword has been used by the white man to oppress the poor, peoples of color, and those of differing religious beliefs. So not only are swords dangerous weapons, they’re also symbols of hate and racism.

    Just the opposite. The first thing an oppressor would do after taking over a new territory is enforce a law prohibiting the new peons from having swords. See the Israelites under Samuel, disarmed by the Philistines. The same thing happened to the common people in Japan under the samurai, and slaves and serfs in medieval Europe. The only thing that put a stop to the practice was the invention of firearms, which were restricted instead. Historically the sword had the place of today’s handgun.

    In fact the first battle of the Revolutionary War was precipitated by British efforts at gun control.

  38. I rather like the sword. Makes me want to kill English hordes or something for Scottish freedom. Don’t know why.

  39. The SCA is not LARPing — it’s not a game. It much closer to living history or re-enactment groups.

    At what point in history did people go out in the woods to pretend they’re royalty, whack at each other with rattan sticks, get hammered on boda-bags of fortified wine and hump each other like polyamorous rabbits?

  40. At what point in history did people go out in the woods to pretend they’re royalty, whack at each other with rattan sticks, get hammered on boda-bags of fortified wine and hump each other like polyamorous rabbits?

    Last weekend?

  41. I bet the school institutionalizes unarmed combat in the form of wrestling, and maybe even boxing.

  42. Handle-spoofing ain’t cool, even if it is spoofing a total retard like Dan T. Handle-spoofing is possibly the only thing that can lower the level of discourse on a message board more than trolling. (Except possibly spamming, but at least an admin can remove spam without being accused of viewpoint-suppressing fascism.) So I enjoin all handle-spoofers to allow Dan T. to embarrass himself without your aid. He’s doing a great job all by himself.

    I will now climb off my high horse.

    The only thing threatened by that picture is that dudes chances of getting laid!

    You nailed it steve. The people arguing to the contrary are forgetting one thing…sex with other chubby Renaissance Fair nerds isn’t really sex…it’s actually several rungs down from masturbating over anime porn.

    Wait…how the hell did I get back on this horse?

    I will now climb down off my elitist, judgmental, extremely-hot-non-renaissance-obsessed-girlfriend-having horse. Or something.

  43. I’m a stupid moron with a big butt and my butt smells and I like to smell my own butt.

  44. For the wacky administrators at this public school, chain mail is ARMOR not a WEAPON.

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