When I was a senior in high school, my class decided that our senior prank would be to stage our own Take Your Dog to School Day. One spring day, a bunch of seniors went to class with Fido in tow. It’s a pretty tame senior prank, but it was cute and amusing, and the administration had a sense of humor about it, although the principal did make everyone take the dogs home by the end of first period.
Dan DePaolis, a high school senior in Massachusetts took his school’s spirit week to a new level when he arrived dressed as a knight and took his parents’ horse for a lap around the parking lot. He was led by a friend, Keegan Blute, who was dressed as a squire. According to an article in the Gloucester Times, the horse had been on the school grounds for just a few minutes when DePaolis was confronted and suspended on the spot by the assistant principal. He received a two-day suspension and Blute was given a day suspension plus two hours of community service.
What’s the offense? Bringing an animal to school. According to DePaolis’s father, the school administrators told him that riding the horse at school was akin to bringing a loaded firearm to school.
We all know that horses can be dangerous, especially in crowds, but when you get all the details, it’s hard to see how the punishment fits the crime. This kid didn’t come galloping on to school property with a jousting lance out in front of him. He only walked and was led the entire time. DePaolis had his parents’ permission to bring their horse to school, and in fact they had trailered the horse to school for him and were present at the time.
I can understand coming out and telling the student he needs to get the horse off school grounds, but the suspension doesn’t make sense. Is it really a good idea to punish a student for having too much spirit during spirit week? Would they rather he be a stereotypical apathetic teenager?
Then there’s the opposite end of the spectrum. A private school in the suburbs of Philadelphia not only allowed a student to ride his Percheron to school every day, but they gave him the go ahead to build a corral for his horse on school property so he’d have somewhere to “park” during the day. (Click here to read the article and see some photos of the horse and his boy en route to school.) Which school would you rather attend?
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