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Archive for January, 2011

My friend Jessie (Behind the Willows) sent me a link today about a group of students that got in trouble at school for wearing crazy Christmas sweaters, singing caroles and passing out little candy canes at school. You may be wondering what their crime was? Well, they were officially charged with littering and creating a disturbance, but discussion from administrators also focused on the fact candy canes can be sharpened with your mouth into weapons and that suicide rates are up over the holidays and not everyone wants holiday cheer so the students should just keep it to themselves. Wow. Really?

You can google candy canes as weapons and come up with articles from all over the US about this story. 

While I’ve never tried to stab someone with a candy cane, I have tried to keep one in my pocket for a day without breaking it – nearly impossible. I would imagine that if I were to try to stab someone with a candy cane, it might hurt a bit, but wouldn’t leave permanent damage… not the kind of damage that could be caused by, say, stabbing someone with a pencil, or pen, or shards of a plastic ruler? Perhaps those kids using sharpened pencils at school should have a stern talking to.

I work in a school, so I totally understand the need to protect other students from harm. And, I understand the need for tough bullying and weapons policies. When I hear of violence in schools, I fear my safety just as much as the innocent students at school. But in this case, the assessment by administration that a candy can could be used as a weapon is simply ludicrous.

The report about the Christmas cheer came via a parent interviewed by a journalist on one of the websites I read. So, I’m not sure how accurate the account is, but she claimed that and administrator told her that these kids should keep their Christmas cheer to themselves because not everyone wants to hear it. There are problems with that on so many levels!

First of all, I realize that Christmas is a secular holiday in its roots, but, it has become more than that. It has become a family celebration, rooted in traditions and the spirit of giving. It has become a time that people typically get some time off of work to spend with loved ones; that families travel to be together. The Christmas season in general makes people feel good. It sounds¬†to me that these students weren’t trying to cram Jesus down people’s throats, but just trying to do something fun and silly to shake up the student body and make people smile. It would take some kind of idiot to see just cause for punishment in that!

We need to get back to a time when we can be silly without offending someone; when we can give treats without ulterior motives; when making other people feel good is celebrated rather than corrected. We need to get back to a time where we lift each other up; where neighbors help each other; where students who think of the happiness of others make the evening news for being unselfish and wonderful.

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