Posted by: Idioma Extra | November 3, 2010

The Weird and the Wonderful

Backpack too racy for elementary school


LAND O’ LAKES — A boy’s backpack with an illustration of a bikini-clad woman showing cleavage has led to standoff between the student’s father and the principal at Richey Elementary.

The father, Fred Ferrer, said Principal Ken Miesner went too far by saying that his 9-year-old son, Quentin, can’t wear the backpack at school anymore.

Miesner, though, said the backpack is causing a disruption at the school and the illustration isn’t appropriate for an elementary school setting, where some preschoolers are as young as 3.

The principal acknowledged this is a new one on him.

“I’ve never had to deal with an inappropriate backpack before,” Miesner said. The backpack itself isn’t new, though, just the controversy.

Ferrer said Quentin, a fourth-grader, wore the backpack to school for about two years without any complaints. Last week, though, another parent noticed the illustration and complained to a secretary, who brought the backpack to the attention of teachers who told Miesner.

Miesner said he was unaware of the illustration on the backpack until then, but once it was pointed out to him he was obligated to take action.

Ferrer said he learned about the complaint and the principal’s decision Friday, but was undeterred.

“I sent him to school on Monday with the backpack,” Ferrer said.

After that, Ferrer said, Miesner threatened to suspend his son. The principal said Tuesday that the school isn’t considering suspending Quentin, but Miesner is firm on his ruling that the illustration is inappropriate.

He said Quentin can wear the backpack to school, but once there he must bring it to the office. He can take his books and supplies to class from there and pick up the backpack again at the end of the day.

Ferrer said that’s not acceptable. He took to his case to the Pasco County School Board on Tuesday hoping to sway board members to see things his way.

The cleavage in the illustration is no worse than other backpacks portraying cartoon characters such as Betty Boop, Ferrer said.

He also argued that the backpack isn’t pornographic and doesn’t show drugs, weapons or violence.

The school district’s dress code gives principals the final word on what is appropriate and board members were unwilling to override that policy.

“We have given the principal that authority and he has made his decision,” board Chairman Allen Altman told Ferrer.

That didn’t sit well with the father, who vowed that he’s not through.

“He will wear his backpack,” he said. Ferrer said he may take it even further, allowing his son to wear shirts that he considers appropriate but school officials might find objectionable.

“This will turn into a circus,” he said. “This is ridiculous.”

The principal said if that happens, Ferrer’s son will be asked to turn the shirt inside-out or be given something else to wear. Schools sometimes keep extra shirts around for just such instances.

“It’s unfortunate he’s going to go out of his way to cause a school disruption,” Miesner said.

Word of the Day
Pronunciation: \ˈkän-trə-ˌvər-sē, British also kən-ˈträ-vər-sē\
Origins:  Middle English controversie, from Anglo-French, from Lantincontroversia, from controversus disputable, literally, turned against, from contro- (akin to contra-) + versus, past participle of vertere to turn — more at worth
First Known Use: 14th century
1 a discussion marked especially by the expression of opposing views : dispute
2: quarrel, strife

More Vocabulary
Cleavage: n. the depression between a woman’s breasts especially when made visible by a low-cut neckline
Complaint: n. something that is the cause or subject of protest or outcry
Override: v. to set aside: annul
Portray: v. to make a picture of
Racy: adj. having a strongly marked quality
Standoff: v. to reach a deadlock or stalemate (impasse, standstill)
Sway: v. to fluctuate or veer between one point, position, or opinion and another

Love those Phrasal Verbs
Pick up: to claim

  • John, you will have to pick up your bags at Terminal C of the airport.


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