Oddly enough, I don’t miss high school.
I had great friends, a few incredible teachers and some good times, but I don’t miss a lot of it – principals who acted like bush league Stalins, teachers who sucked the life out of whatever they touched, and other students who just would not get it.
Since I graduated, high school has gotten worse.
James Maurice is a senior at Union Grove High School, outside of Atlanta.
He is a linebacker on his school’s football team and was looking forward to playing in the homecoming game.
Unfortunately for him, he had the nerve to kiss his girlfriend of eight months on the forehead before class.
That one peck cost him two-days of school suspension and his chance to be in the big game.
Andrea Boyes’ cheerleading team at West Salem High School in Salem, Ore. needed to raise some money so they could hire an assistant coach and travel to national competitions.
She came up with the idea of selling bottled water with her school’s logo at school events.
After getting a $750 donation for startup costs, she had 6,000 labels printed, found a water supplier and ordered 15 cases.
But Pepsi has a 10-year, $5 million contract with her school district to only sell Pepsi drinks on school grounds.
Pepsi sent Ms. Boyes a cease-and-desist letter forbidding her to sell water on campus, since only Pepsi’s Aquafina brand was allowed.
Her school agreed with Pepsi, and the cheerleading team wasn’t allowed to raise its money.
A football player suspended for a harmless show of affection.
A cheerleader banned from raising money for her team because her school district is being held hostage by a corporation.
When did things become this sad?
Before he boasted about enforcing his rule without exception, Maurice’s principal, Rodney Bower, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that he runs “a strong academic environment in which kissing is not an activity that needs to take place in a building.”
Since we all know the mortal threat that goodbye kisses pose to healthy study habits, we’ll let Bower’s comments slide and not wonder when was the last time he kissed somebody.
The purchasing director at Boyes’ school wants her to sell Aquafina water instead, and keep the profit that would normally go to her school.
That is because in exchange for $5 million, he sold his school’s soul to a multi-national soft drink company that is worried about competition from a high school cheerleading team.
Pepsi has no comment.
High schools don’t have to be that way.
They don’t have to be so broke that they will take $5 million contracts to make up for the money they should be getting from the government, and they should not have to punish a cheerleading team like that.
Football players don’t need to miss their homecoming game because they wanted to do something that adults in the workplace do every day of their lives.
But high schools are that way, and as the textbooks get older, urine tests become mandatory and the dress codes become more strict, it’s only gonna get worse.
Neal Ungerleider can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org