4 Times School Officials Made The Dumbest Decision Ever
Running a school is tough. You've got to educate hundreds of tomorrow's leaders -- or at least tomorrow's data entry clerks -- teach them to be good citizens, and try not to piss off any overbearing parents who think they're raising the next Doctor Rock Star President. And sometimes all of that pressure, well ... let's just say that it can get to the people in charge.
A School In New York Segregated Kids By Race ... In 2018
The Little Red School House, which despite sounding like a 19th-century children's book series is in fact an elite private school in New York City, had good intentions when they decided to put all of their middle-grade students of color in their own classrooms. They argued that the policy was meant "to better support our students of color," because students can benefit from being in classrooms full of people with similar backgrounds and life experiences. It's not like they were giving the students of color an inferior education or anything. The kids were merely separate ... but equal!
Parents, understandably, were not thrilled, pointing out that while benefits may exist in the abstract, in practice it meant that their kids were being separated from friends they'd known since kindergarten. The resulting "brouhaha" was deemed likely to hurt the institution's admissions, and was also found to be, like, just a pretty shitty thing to do without even mentioning it until students and parents began to notice.
In the school's defense, an education expert pointed out that the school had a valid point about how awkward it often is to be the only black kid in a history class where half the white students still think that getting free room and board made the whole slavery thing a wash. But they also pointed out that segregation is a Band-Aid solution, and that if the school really wanted the problem solved, they'd need to advocate for better financial aid and support for minority students, given that hoity-toity private schools aren't the most welcoming environments. We're sure the school will get right on that more costly and difficult solution.
A Miami High School Had A Caged Tiger At Their Prom
Your high school prom probably had a theme, like "Under the Sea" or "Hey, You're Graduating." Florida's Christopher Columbus High School went with "Welcome to the Jungle," and featured a safari camp, fake rocks and trees and snakes, and a real lemur and macaw to pose with in photos. It was your standard level of tacky, if a bit odd, considering that anyone who lives in Florida has probably been on the Jungle Cruise several hundred times. But the real problem was that they also had a goddamn tiger, and he was stuck in a cage more appropriate for an unusually dull poodle. (Try explaining those rips and tears to the tux rental place.)
Yes, the most ridiculous part of the last episode of Vice Principals happened for real. The school argued that "for the great majority of the time [the tiger] was lying down in a relaxed state facing away from the audience." But upon seeing videos, a spokesman for the Miami Zoo called bullshit. In the zoo's opinion, the tiger was stressed the fuck out. Damn, who could have foreseen that hundreds of loud teenagers, drummers, fire dancers, and geysers of sparklers could prove stressful to an animal locked in a cage barely big enough for it to pace around in?
After a controversy developed, the school issued a standard "We're sorry you were offended" non-apology and promised to reconsider their policies regarding such events. Presumably that means they had to scuttle their planned theme for 2019's prom, "Bearly Legal."
A Tokyo Public School Adopted $730 Armani Uniforms
Most Japanese schools require uniforms out of a desire to foster a sense of solidarity among students, to prevent any fashion-related bullying or anxiety, and to contribute to anime tropes. For the 2018-19 school year, Taimei Elementary in the hip Ginza district of Tokyo decided that they needed a uniform redesign to stay on the cutting edge of fashion. And in tribute to their fashion-forward locale, they contracted the design out to Armani ... which came back with a uniform that costs 80,000 yen (about $730) a pop.
It would be one thing if Taimei was an elite private school, because mocking rich kids for their douchey uniforms is one of the few ways other kids can bring them back down to Earth. But this was a public school where not every family could afford to drop over 700 bucks on a uniform that their kid would outgrow within a year. Parents were irate, especially since they hadn't been consulted on the change. Even the government got in on the criticism. The school argued that switching to the Lil' Zaibatsu Fund Kid look was optional, but that would only serve to highlight which kids couldn't afford the fancy new threads.
The school, being the seek-forgiveness types, decided to forge ahead anyway, which led to at least three students "[encountering] abusive strangers who pulled their uniforms or asked if they attended the school." The school responded by hiring security guards, even though school guards aren't normally employed in Japan because their students are generally only shot at in creepy works of fiction. And that's the last development the world has heard of this story, at least until the school inevitably adds custom Fenty Puma gym wear.
A Chinese Kindergarten Principal Welcomed Parents And Students Back To School With Pole Dancing
The first day of school is a big day in China. Motivating patriotic speeches are given, displays of military might are performed, and in Shenzhen's Xinshahui kindergarten, the principal, uh, arranged a pole dancing routine for the kids and their parents. On a pole flying the Chinese flag, no less.
The affair was documented by Michael Standaert, an increasingly baffled China-based Western journalist. While a few kids watched or even mimicked the dancers' movements, most just milled around, got excited to see their friends, and generally did kid stuff. The performance seemed to be intended more for the parents, as Standaert also spotted advertisements for a pole dancing school that promised it offered good exercise. So maybe this was simply the worst attempt at marketing in a school since asbestos manufacturers swore that parents could breathe safe knowing their children were well-insulated.
We may never know precisely what the principal was thinking. (Maybe "Look, now that your kids are in school, you're free to bone again! Go make more students!") She claimed she wanted to show off the skill of the dancer and expose students and parents to a new type of dance, maybe because it never hurts to learn how to make a few extra RMB. But we do know that in the face of angry parents threatening to remove their students from school and demanding tuition refunds, the principal was fired and the government issued the official-sounding version of "What the fuck? Don't do that, schools."
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