Friday, June 10, 2005

Did anyone, ever, enjoy high school?

One reads about a story like this and wonders if high school administrators go to a special center to have their brains removed, or to have their heads inserted into their own asses. Perhaps the first, then the other:

Thomas Benya wore a braided bolo tie under his purple graduation gown this week as a subtle tribute to his Native American heritage.

Administrators at his Charles County school decided the string tie was too skinny. They denied him his diploma, at least temporarily, as punishment.

The bolo, common in contemporary American Indian culture, is not considered a tie by his public school in Pomfret. If Benya wants the diploma, he will have to schedule a conference with the administrators.

In March, Benya's high school sent a letter to parents and seniors explaining that "adherence to the dress code is mandatory," with the word mandatory in bold and underlined. For girls: white dresses or skirts with white blouses. For boys: dark dress pants with white dress shirts and ties.

That left Benya's classmates free to wear bright orange, red and striped ties under their gowns at the ceremony Wednesday at the Show Place Arena in Upper Marlboro. One senior girl wore a headscarf and long pants for religious reasons.

I went to a Jesuit high school where the graduation attire consisted in tuxedos for the boys and white dresses for the girls. Which made the whole thing look like a Moonie wedding. There was a pro forma "vote" on whether to wear that or traditional caps and gowns each year, which vote was always rigged or otherwise disregarded by the administration; my senior year, we were told that if we did vote for caps and gowns, we wouldn't be able to wear caps because -- I kid you not -- they could put someone's eye out when they were tossed. Perhaps the most outrageous thing about the situation was that the guys' tuxes were provided free of charge by a local company hoping to scare up prom rentals, while the girls all had to buy the exact same dress. Dumbassery, I think, is endemic to those whose chosen path in life involves being a high school administrator.

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