If there’s one thing The Daily Caller knows for sure, it’s that American high school administrators are collectively a bunch of moronic tools.
Take David Fleishman, the school district superintendent in the affluent Boston suburb of Newton, for example.
Fleishman and his colleagues banned Newton North High School senior Henry DeGroot from the prom after he wrote messages trumpeting freedom and democracy in the notebook of at least one Chinese student during a four-month, school-sponsored semester abroad in Beijing, reports The Boston Globe.
The kerfuffle occurred when DeGroot and his fellow American students visited a school in a little town near Beijing. Officials at that school wanted the American kids to write their email addresses in the notebooks belonging to the Chinese kids.
DeGroot provided a bonus.
“Democracy is for cool kids,” the 18-year-old remembered jotting down in English, according to the Globe. He also wrote: “Don’t believe the lies your school and government tell you.” Also: “It’s right to rebel.”
A Chinese teacher spotted DeGroot’s liberty-loving words and turned him in.
For DeGroot’s actions, the principal at the Beijing Jingshan School, where he was enrolled, ordered him to sit in detention for four straight hours.
That’s the sort of thing you’d expect from a petty tyrant under the autocratic yoke of one-party rule, of course.
When the senior returned stateside, though, he also received a stern lecture from the petty tyrants at Newton North High. They told him he broke rules by writing about freedom in a kid’s notebook. They told him he shamed the principal at the Chinese school. Worst of all, they said the school’s relationship with the Chinese school might suffer.
Officials at the high school then banned DeGroot from the prom as punishment.
DeGroot responded in a pretty kick-ass way: he donned his tuxedo, anyway, and went to Five Guys, the burger joint.
He wasn’t happy, though.
“I’m missing a lifetime of memories,” he told the Globe.
Fleishman, the Newton Public Schools superintendent, defended the decision to outlaw DeGroot from his senior prom.
“We certainly want our students to be thoughtful and critical thinkers,” Fleishman told the Boston paper. “We encourage that, and we pride ourselves on giving students that opportunity. But this is not about free speech.”
Instead, the superintendent said, it’s about a code of conduct which he believes DeGroot egregiously violated.
Ken Hamilton, who chairs Newton North’s school exchange committee, agreed. He told the Globe he was troubled because some Chinese school principal was “losing face.”
The Newton teachers in Beijing ordered DeGroot to write a letter saying how sorry he was for trumpeting freedom. He agreed to write it, but mentioned democracy again.
So the Newton teachers then told him to rewrite the letter, which he did, but he refused to take it to the offended principal in person.
DeGroot is sticking to his principles.
“I felt as a human being on this planet I have an inalienable right to free speech if I’m doing it in a non-vulgar, appropriate way, as this private conversation was,” he told the Globe.
He also noted that Newton North High preaches the importance of free speech, critical thinking and civil disobedience. When school officials and teachers had an opportunity to live up those ideals during the 25th anniversary of Tiananmen Square, though, they failed embarrassingly.
Fleishman is also sticking to his principles.
The school district chief noted that he didn’t want to risk losing “one of the longest-running exchange programs with China.”
“What he did chilled the rest of the entire trip,” Fleishman also whined to the Globe. “It put a strain on the visit.”
DeGroot will enroll at UCLA in the fall.