It’s graduation time throughout this great nation of ours. Which means that, as students prepare to escape the rules and regulations of the provincial fiefdoms that have exercised (or at least tried to exercise) control over their actions, words, and thoughts for the past four years, they’ll periodically attempt to display the kind of individualism that too many schools try to stifle.
At Bishop Verot in Fort Myers, Florida, Chuck Shriner was denied his diploma after Tebowing in front of the school’s principal, according to the Naple News, via multiple other sites.
“They said what I did would give underclassmen inspiration to do something else, that it might lead to something else,” said Shriner, who eventually got his sheepskin after sweeping up the gym after the ceremony. “So they were trying to set an example.”
That’s the excuse that routinely is given for what in reality may be one last, desperate effort to subject a departing student to policies that are, all too often, arbitrary and capricious and downright foolish. Action should be taken only when the student does something obviously improper and disrespectful. Defying the “because I said so” proclamation of the principal doesn’t cut it, no matter how delusional the principal has become regarding the extent of his or her power.
So lighten up, Francis, Sandy baby, and every other stiff-lipped ruler-wielding educator who has trouble accepting the fact that, every year, 25 percent of the inmates walk out of the prison. Indulging — and celebrating — a creative impulse will go a long way toward nurturing the kind of outside-the-box thinking that will help a possible leader emerge from a throng of kids whom the principals would, in many situations, prefer to remain followers.
And if Tebowing or Bradying or Faith Hilling or Taylor Swifting ultimately becomes something that truly crosses the line (like, say, Gene Simmonsing, from either end), that’s when the powers-that-be should use their power one last time against the responsible student.