Thursday, June 14, 2012

Left Side of the Aisle #61 - Part 3

Clarabell Award: School punishes student for actions of others

Last week, I introduced the Clown Award, now officially dubbed the Clarabell Award, describing it as an occasional feature for things that weren't necessarily either evil or good, but were just stupid. That is, I thought it would be just occasional - but I keep finding stupid things, so who knows.

For this occasion of the award, we go to Mt. Healthy, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati. Recently, they held their high school graduation. Anthony Cornist was among those to receive his diploma. He was on the football team and was apparently very popular at school with both teachers and other students. Too popular, it seems: When his name was called at the graduation ceremonies, his friends and family cheered enough that Cornist was denied his diploma.

If that sounds odd to you, it does to me, too. Here's what happened: When he got on stage, instead of his diploma he was handed by the principal a letter saying that because of the "disruption" caused by the cheering, his diploma would be held in the principal's office until he completed 20 hours of community service.

Now note, Cornist did nothing wrong. All he did was walk across the stage. He had nothing whatsoever to do with the cheering. The school even admitted as much: Schools superintendent Lori Handler said all the students - including, necessarily, Cornist - were "angelic." So the school, without question, is trying to punish Anthony Cornist for something others did, over which he had no control. When the absurdity of that was pointed out to Handler, she doubled down on the nonsense by saying that, get this, his family could serve the time for him - so they are now trying to impose punishment on people over who they have absolutely no legal authority.

And I'll triple down: The video - there is a link to it at below - clearly shows the principal giving Cornist the letter when he first arrived on stage to get his diploma. But Handler says the problem wasn't the volume of the cheering, it was the duration - which the principal clearly could not have known at the time he gave Cornist the letter with the demand for community service. This may be a good part of the reason that Handler now refuses to be interviewed, insisting she will only comment through a written statement prepared in conjunction with the attorney for the school district.

On top of everything else, despite being denied his diploma, service or no service, Cornist is still a legal graduate and his transcripts are available for any potential college or employer - and the school may have broken several laws by withholding the diploma for causes beyond its authority.

There can be no doubt: The administration of the high school of Mt. Healthy, Ohio is composed of clowns.


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