The ten most absurd school punishments
The story of Kamryn Renfro, a nine-year-old Grand Junction girl who was briefly banned from the Caprock Academy charter school because her bald head violated the school's dress-code policy -- she'd shaved it in solidarity with her best friend, who is battling cancer -- made us think about some of the other stupid punishments that schools have handed out across the country. Administrators justified most of these sentences by pointing to the schools' zero-tolerance policies on drugs and alcohol or guns and violence, but all of them made zero sense.
Read on for our top ten:
Number 10 : Punished for being a designated driver
A Massachusetts high school senior got in trouble when she went to pick up an intoxicated classmate from a party. The teenager, an honor student and volleyball star, was stripped of her title as captain of the volleyball team and suspended from five games, even after the police -- who arrested some students for underage drinking -- recognized her sobriety.
Number 9: Arrested for burping
A thirteen-year-old Cleveland Middle School student was handcuffed and taken to juvenile detention after he "burped audibly" in his P.E class. After calling his lawyer, his family sued the teacher, the school's principal and the school cop. The lawsuit alleged the boy was transported to the detention without his parents being notified.
Number 8: Suspended for making a gun gesture
A Michigan boy was given a two-day suspension after he curled his hand into a gun and pointed it at a student while playing with his friend at recess. School officials justified the punishment by pointing out the school's zero-tolerance policy on guns and violence.
In 2007, a three-year-old attending a Christian school in Maryland was forced to cut his dreadlock, considered a violation of the school policy prohibiting "extremely faddish styles including the use of rubber bands or the 'twisting of hair.'" Both parents, who had the same hairstyle, argued that their son's dreadlocks were part of a family and cultural heritage. But the school insisted on a haircut.
Number 6: Teen sent to fake prom
In 2010, a Mississippi teen petitioned schools officials to allow her to attend the prom with her girlfriend and wear a tuxedo. After the school refused, she informed the ACLU; a judge eventually ruled in her favor. Rather than complying with the judge's order, the school sent the teen to a fake prom -- along with several students with special needs plus some teachers and the principal as chaperones -- while all the other students attended the real prom at a different location.
Read on for five more of the dumbest school disciplinary decisions.
In 2008, a California high school student was suspended for wearing a shirt depicting the American flag. The school's assistant principal thought the shirt was a violation of a dress code that prohibited clothing that "promotes specific races, cultures or ethnicities." The student was forced to take the shirt off and instead wear a bright-yellow shirt that read "DCV: Dress Code Violator."
Number 4: Beaten by classmates
After a five-year-old Texan punched a girl in the face during a field trip to Chuck. E Cheese, the teacher decided to teach the kid a lesson by having his classmates line up and hit him back. No surprise what happened next: The teacher was quickly fired.
Number 3: Braid cut off as punishment
In 2009, a Milwaukee elementary school teacher cut off a seven-year-old student's braid after telling her to stop playing with her hair during class. The teacher, who was fined $175 and put through a disciplinary process by the school, went to the student's desk offering some candy, then pulled out a pair of classroom scissors and chopped off one of her braids.
A twelve-year-old student in Texas was arrested by the school police force for spraying two bursts of perfume on her neck after her classmates teased her about the way she smelled. The student was taken from class, charged with a criminal misdemeanor and ordered to appear in court.
In Florida, an eleven-year-old student was arrested, taken to jail and charged with the possession of a weapon on school property, a third-degree felony. The weapon in question? A plastic butter knife which accidentally got into the student's backpack. The student was also suspended for ten days.
More from our archives: Border Patrol T-shirts warrant punishment at Dakota Ridge High, "F*ck America" signs don't?
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.