VALOIS, New York, USSA - While everyone in the U.S. has been so concerned about swine flu, up in a metropolis called Standish, Maine, a different kind of illness has taken over school authorities: adultus ridiculosos.
There is some evidence that this maturity induced dementia is related to a more serious malady, seen largely in authoritarian societies.
But that discussion can wait for another day.
Here is the story, filed by the Associated Press:
Maine student who blew kiss to mom denied diploma
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
(06-16) 21:26 PDT Portland, Maine (AP) --
A Maine high school senior says he was denied his diploma because he bowed during graduation and blew a kiss to his mother.
Justin Denney was about to receive his Bonny Eagle High School diploma Friday when he pointed at friends and relatives.
Schools Superintendent Suzanne Lukas ordered him back to his seat. She tells the Portland Press Herald newspaper she was enforcing behavior rules.
Justin's mother, Mary Denney, says her son's showboating didn't break any rules. She tells WMTW-TV "a kiss to your mom is not misbehavior." She wants an apology — and a diploma for her son.
The commencement at the Cumberland County Civic Center also was disrupted when a giant inflatable rubber duck and beach balls were thrown. One student was ejected.
Some parents want a review of commencement policies.
Without putting too fine a point on it, What the hell?
I suppose that it is important for school authorities to control these about-to-be adults. After all, that's what all those years of loud bells, arbitrary time periods for study (called classes), whistles (and rules) were all about, right? Had this graduating class been at a Catholic high school, one click from a clacker wielded by a 4-foot-tall nun would have dropped that kiss in its tracks.
I've attended more graduations than I like to even think about. And yes, there is a modicum of rowdy behavior, a few beach balls, and a lot of shouting. A lot of shouting. But it's joyous activity, activity that comes after years of study and effort and following those damned loud bells and arbitrary time periods for study, whistles and rules.
In Standish, Maine, school authorities might take a lesson from their students on this one and lighten up.
Whether they do or not, these same school officials are definitely getting a lesson on what it feels like to look ridiculous in a national spotlight. The joke writers for Letterman and O'Brien and a huge cadre of comedians are busy at work, making Standish, Maine the new punchboard for humor.
Plus, what a great advertisement for home-school advocates. A few kisses tossed in the direction of moms there is normal behavior.
For another take on what happened in Standish, here is a longer story, with a second link to a video. The video of the actual incident, is revealing.