Students suspended for anti-drunk-driving shirts

Filed under: Teens, Alcohol & Drugs, Day Care & Education, Decor

I guess it's something about the back-to-school season. Maybe students are testing the system for the new year to see what's okay and what isn't. Testing boundaries is, of course, part of growing up and figuring out what's socially acceptable and what isn't. Often, the tests come in the form of images or slogans on t-shirts, such as the one promoting tolerance of homosexuality.

Sometimes, it's clear -- to us adults -- that the shirt is inappropriate and sometimes it's hard to tell. Sometimes, though, you just have to wonder what's going through the minds of the adults charged with maintaining those boundaries. Such is the case of some high school seniors in Illinois who were suspended for wearing shirts that they made in response to an accident last February that claimed the lives of four students from the school. The driver of the vehicle was allegedly drunk at the time of the accident. The shirts say "Seniors .08" on the front -- a reference to the legal limit of blood alcohol content for drivers -- and "Don't Blow It" on the back.

Two students were suspended when they refused change their shirts or turn them inside out. "Those were my really good friends [who died in the crash]," said seventeen-year-old Katie Kusnierz, one of the two students who were suspended. "I decided I wanted to get this shirt to say drinking and driving is bad. Don't do it."

Officials didn't see it that way, however. "That certainly was not the message that the vast majority of students [wearing the shirts] had indicated," said Principal Mike Wayne. "They seemed to know they were pushing the envelope with that shirt. I think it could be interpreted as promoting drinking." Sure, it could be interpreted that way, if you start assuming all your students are troublemakers just looking to get wasted as soon as they can.

On the other hand, you could look at what happened to their schoolmates and give them the benefit of the doubt. You know, maybe, take them at their word? I'm just sayin'.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.