8th Grade Honors Student suspended for buying a bag of Skittles. Thank you Eleanor Turner!
Posted on March 13, 2008
Filed Under News
Michael Sheridan, an 8th grader from New Haven, Connecticut, was suspended for three days after buying a bag of Skittles from one of his classmates. He was dismissed of his title as class vice president, and excluded from an honors student dinner that day.
A school spokeswoman says the New Haven school system banned candy sales and fundraisers in 2003 as part of the district-wide school é─˙wellnessé─¨ policy. The Sheridan Middle School principal, Eleanor Turner, said that she just wanted to é─˙keep students safeé─¨. She stated she had concerns about the safety of students carrying large amounts of cash in school.
The amount of cash paid by this kid for the bag of skittles?
One dollar. The kid was loaded!
After a couple of days of é─˙investigationé─¨ (and all the media attention) the school decided to give this kid his student council post back and his suspension was reduced to one day. The student who sold the candy to him was also suspended. The news report I read said: é─˙Contraband candy has led to trouble for an eighth-grade honors studenté─Âé─¨ so I guess we should call the kid who sold it, the dealer.
I doné─˘t understand how somebody that wants to protect kids from something, treats them like criminals, even worse, like they were stupid. I seriously think some people should not be allowed to teach or be involved with the school system. This is just completely ridiculous.
Let me tell you a little story.
I went to a pretty strict high school myself. We were not allowed to have long hair, shaved heads or wear earrings. Even girls had to wear earrings that stuck to the schoolé─˘s guidelines, jewelry and such had to be pretty much unnoticeable.
I am a musician and Ié─˘ve always known I wanted to be one. It was the early nineties back then, and I was still listening to late 80é─˘s glam rock and had started getting into the newer alternative stuff. It shouldné─˘t have been a surprise to anybody that I wanted to grow my hair up to my knees. I got in trouble because of my hair a few times.
On one occasion I was called to the principals office. My hair was getting too long and I was given a warning that I need it to cut it. I was really pissed about this, so cut I did. I shaved my head down to the bare skin. I looked like freaking Kojac. Nice! Well, guess what? I was suspended (remember shaved heads were also forbidden) and forced to use a baseball cap until my hair grew enough. They did not want my actions to be a bad influence to younger kids in my school. It still makes me laughé─Â
I am now 30 years old and have had a receding hairline for several years. I am uncomfortable with the idea of growing my hair long because I feel I would look like this guy. Believe me, ité─˘s not that bad, and I know I could still do it, but as I said, I would feel like a fool. Basically, I feel Ié─˘ve lost my chance; I was robbed of the only chance to grow my hair and look like Axl (even though I would have looked more like Slash). I had to do it when I was hairy and beautiful (no comments please).
Did I learn anything about this ridiculous hair rule? No.
Did my desire to grow my hair go away after I got suspended? Of course not.
I guess what Ié─˘m trying to say is that rules do not necessarily equal good education, even less, they do not make kids grow into good adults. I am aware that some basic rules are needed to keep some kind of order, but I have been wondering for some time, what is it that has happened in the past years, that people now a days feel like they have to make up a rule for everything, and what a better example than the Michael Sheridan story. Kids need to be taught how to think and how to make good decisions by themselves. Sure, theyé─˘ll screw up every now and then, we all do, but you do not prevent a kid from getting overweight by banning candy just like you cané─˘t prevent crime by getting rid of all guns in the world. We will end up in a similar or worse situation if we think like this.
Some days ago, a good friend of mine (musician too) said to me something that I find to be really true. He said that an invaluable lesson for a composer or musician is to attend as many concerts as possible. By doing this, he said sometimes you learn stuff that you will want to apply to what you are doing, but most importantly and more often, (as thereé─˘s more bad music than good music in this world), you will learn what NOT to do.
Today, I want to thank the New Haven school system, and the Sheridan Middle School principal, Eleanor Turner, for teaching me what not to do with my kids.