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Boys Made To Publicly Hold Hands As Punishment For Fighting

A first-year principal in Mesa, Ariz., has been thrown into the spotlight for employing a controversial -- yet apparently effective -- method of student discipline.

When two Westwood High School students got in a fist fight during class this week, Principal Tim Richards gave the teens an choice: suspension or public humiliation -- by sitting next to each other holding hands in the school courtyard.

The students chose the latter, hanging their heads as peers watched and taunted them from all sides. Westwood students found the stunt funny.

"Kids were laughing at them and calling them names asking, 'Are you gay?'" student Brittney Smyers told ABC 15.

Photos of the freshman and sophomore hand-in-hand gained attention online, drawing praise from some who called the punishment effective. Charles Crockett, 14, one of the boys involved in the tussle, admitted to KPHO that he won't fight again. And while the punishment only lasted an hour, Charles says he skipped school the next day because the teasing became unbearable.

But critics say that the punishment encourages bullying, allowing students to publicly taunt the teens. Others have suggested that it sends a negative message about gay students by asserting that two males holding hands is an embarrassent.

KPHO reports that a sign near the school reads "Westwood neighborhood supports Principal Richard," but the district isn't standing behind the principal's move. District officials have released a statement, which reads in part:

The district does not condone the choice of in-school discipline given these students, regardless of their acceptance or willingness to participate. District leadership will address this matter with the school principal, and review district protocol regarding student discipline with all administrators. A disciplinary move at a Michigan school similarly attracted criticism earlier this month. McLeod Bethune Elementary-Middle School Principal Antoinette Pearson decided to stop serving lunch after a food fight broke out among 175 students in the cafeteria.

The punishment was quickly rescinded for violating state lunch program regulations.

by Anonymousreply 3512/06/2012

Fucked up in so many ways.

by Anonymousreply 111/30/2012

Disgusting. And sure to provide even more shit for gays in a culture and climate that already is intolerant, mean-spirited and violent about gay matters.

Fire the principal.

by Anonymousreply 211/30/2012

Arizona is quickly surpassing Florida in amount of "WTF stories".

Arizona is trash.

by Anonymousreply 311/30/2012

That's hot. Pictures, please!

by Anonymousreply 411/30/2012

The HP comment section is crazy. I can't believe how some folks just don't get it. SMH!

by Anonymousreply 511/30/2012

Don't get what?

by Anonymousreply 612/01/2012

So why didn't they punish the bullies who taunted them? That's the problem, not the hand-holding.

by Anonymousreply 712/01/2012

I agree with the idea that it is still seemingly negatively portraying the idea of love between 2 males. I should think just having to sit side by side should be enough, they get the idea without the hand holding stuff and maybe some of the anti gay bias is removed. Aside from that, Arizona is one of the states that permits corporal punishment, so maybe a couple good cracks across the ass might wise them up.

by Anonymousreply 812/01/2012

obviously i'm in a minority here because i don't think there's anything wrong with shaming punishments. they are extremely effective. like the woman who had to stand on a street corner with a sign that said 'i'm an idiot' or something like that after she drove up on the sidewalk to get around some cars.

I also don't see anything homophobic in having them hold hands. holding hands is done in many cultures and does not necessarily mean someone is gay. it just means they like each other. i think that's the point, isn't it?

by Anonymousreply 912/01/2012

No, R9, you're an idiot.

by Anonymousreply 1012/01/2012

R9 is an amazing idiot and I have some ocean front property in Phoenix I will sell you cheap.

]quote]so maybe a couple good cracks across the ass might wise them up.

Absolutely right! And a public spanking might just be humiliating enough to teach them the same lesson. Without resorting to homophobia to express a point.

by Anonymousreply 1112/01/2012

[R9] If not homophobic then why would it be punishment?

by Anonymousreply 1212/01/2012

I'm not r9, but holding hands as "punishment" is given (or was when I was a kid) to make the point that "hands are for holding, not for hitting" or to make the kids talk to each other and realize there is no reason to fight, to jumpstart a friendship that wasn't there or to repair one that was.

The punishment is not to shame them for holding hands, it's more like a time out designed to make them consider why they're fighting. It's usually done in grade school age kids - or like I said, it was when I was that age 25ish years ago. I think it's probably rarer as a punishment for older kids, but it probably shouldn't be (rare).

by Anonymousreply 1312/01/2012

How long before clever gays at that high school figure out that all they need to do is slap the face of the boy they've been crushing on, and then they get to hold his hand too?

by Anonymousreply 1412/01/2012

I can see your point r13, but alot of the others walked by them and taunted them often calling them "gay", is this what you want too? If they want to do this hand holding stuff I think it would be better accomplished if it weren't so public, maybe staying after school in the principals office holding hands for 10 or 15 minutes then being asked if they learned anything from it. If they say that it's gay then it's time to break out the lickin' stick.

by Anonymousreply 1512/01/2012

What if two gay kids fight? What is their punishment?

by Anonymousreply 1612/01/2012

No, I want the kids walking by and taunting them punished r15. Why is that difficult to comprehend?

[quote] If they want to do this hand holding stuff I think it would be better accomplished if it weren't so public

Now THAT is shaming.

by Anonymousreply 1712/01/2012

The same r16. The point of the punishment is not to that they have to do something homoerotic, the point is to get them to make up or be nice to each other.

Some of you are bordering on mentally challenged. Christ.

by Anonymousreply 1812/01/2012

[all posts by right wing shit-stain # a removed.]

by Anonymousreply 1912/01/2012

I think you might have to hold an assembly for mass punishment in that case--I don't think using the idea that homosexuality and being gay as something laughable as a form of ostracism or shame is a good idea. In other words, it should not be taken as shameful that men can hold hands; I do get the point but the students probably don't. I'm going to assume that they (the other students) don't give a shit if the guys fight, but since they were caught they are going to be made to look gay--that is the mistake being made in a punishment that has the right idea but immediately goes wrong because of misperception of what being gay means.

by Anonymousreply 2012/01/2012

Nevermind. r20 is DEFINITELY mentally challenged.

by Anonymousreply 2112/01/2012

I am torn on this.

I don't like the idea of making someone look gay as a way of humiliation and shame because it only reinforces the negative association with homosexuality.

But on the other hand, I think it's terribly romantic!

by Anonymousreply 2212/01/2012

Arizona is the Florida west of the Mississippi.

Serious meth-head, trailer-trash, Republican honky tonk country beginning from the very top with that awful governor, Jan Brewer.

by Anonymousreply 2512/01/2012

Bitter cunt R26/27/28, you sound like you have major issues stemming from your teenage years. What happened? Did you drop the soap in the locker-room showers and some big, bad scary gay boy rubbed up against you?

Leave this site, troll. You will find no sympathy here.

by Anonymousreply 2912/01/2012

Although it's good not to encourage child porn among minors, and get kids to overthink displays of affection, it's easy to run across dry white spells of homophobia that are a bit Harry Potter.

by Anonymousreply 3012/01/2012


I live in Arizona, and your statement is completely true in my experience.

by Anonymousreply 3112/01/2012

[quote] I learned this years later from a girl who was in our classes. My crime? Not being gay, apparently. Oh they LOVED the physical contact, and would try to be my friend afterwards.

I'm betting that R26 is no oil painting now, and has to relive his high school years with one of the fraus he stayed in contact with.

by Anonymousreply 3212/01/2012

The punishment was not that bad, allowing others to taunt them was the bad thing. The two boys should have been isolated .

by Anonymousreply 3312/01/2012

[all posts by right wing shit-stain # a removed.]

by Anonymousreply 3412/01/2012

Wow! That's not only homophobic but the principal forced teens (!) to engage in sexual act for others to see. And he still got away with it?

by Anonymousreply 3512/06/2012
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