High School Students Suspended for "Tebowing"

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  1. Cerek

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    Dec 18, 2011

    Two New York high-school students have been suspended for organizing a bended-knee tribute to Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow.

    Seventeen year old Connor and Tyler Carroll are fans of the NFL star, a devout Christian who has led his team on an improbable 7-1 record since becoming the team's starting quarterback.

    The NFL player has unwittingly started a global trend called "Tebowing"--what the site tebowing.com describes as, "to get down on a knee and start praying, even if everyone else around you is doing something completely different."

    For some, the act of Tebowing is highly ironic, but for the Carroll brothers it was meant as a sincere gesture. However, in this case, the kids in question have provoked the ire of one bystander "doing something completely different": Superintendant Nancy Carney, who took vigorous issue with organized Tebowing in the school hallway. About 40 students reportedly participated in the latest act on Wednesday, which you can watch in the video below:

    Carney said the suspension has nothing to do with the religious nature of the gesture. "It is about being sure kids are able to get to class on time and keeping the kids safe and orderly," Carney said. "These students were warned and did it again. If the kids aren't going to abide by rules, there are consequences."

    However, the Carroll brothers said they not received a prior warning.

    "The administration told us that our Tebowing was blocking the halls and could potentially cause a riot, because they were growing in number and if the wrong kid gets pushed a brawl could ensue," football and baseball player Connor Carroll told Cameron Smith of Yahoo's Prep Rally.

    "We had no idea that we could get suspended for such a thing. It was a joke between a group of friends that took a life of its own. We figured at the most we would just be told to stop."


    Source: Yahoo News

    I saw this on the news this past week and wondered what others thought about it.

    I have mixed feelings myself. On one hand, I find it a little difficult to believe the Super when she says the suspension had nothing to do with the religious nature of the gesture. On the other hand, the group of students are blocking the hallway, making it very difficult for other students to get by (there is a video clip included in the story on Yahoo's site). Even so, I think a suspension for blocking the hallway is a bit extreme.
     
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  3. MissJill

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    They're doing it to get a rise out of people, not because they are actually praying. They had a camera set up to document the event because they knew it would cause some sort of disruption. I say suspend them.
     
  4. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Phenom

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    It also said they were warned but did it again. They claim they were not warned. If they had received a warning then probably would have been documented. If they knew they were not supposed to do it and then did it again I think a suspension is fair.
     
  5. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    In one statement in the article the brothers refer to the act as 'a sincere gesture'; in another, they refer to it as a 'joke between a group of friends'. Can't have it both ways.
     
  6. MsMar

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    Czacza, I thought the same thing - it can't be both a sincere gesture and a joke.
     
  7. Cerek

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    That's interesting. How do you know they were doing it to get a rise out of people? The brothers claim it was just something they and their friends started doing and it grew on it's own as other students joined in. I agree they aren't actually praying, but they never claimed they were. They just said they were paying tribute to Tebow because they think he is a great role model.

    As for the camera, almost every HS kid has a cell phone in their pocket and can take videos on a moment's notice. We've seen videos of everything from school fights to a teacher going ballistic on a student (down in Houston). So it makes sense that either one of their friends or another student walking by would take out their cell phone and video the Tebowing.

    TeacherNY - the two brothers claim they were not warned previously and say they just expected admin to tell them to stop. However, they also admit admin had warned them the stunt might cause a riot if the wrong student(s) got pushed while the hallway was blocked. That sounds like they were warned, but just didn't expect to be suspended for ignoring the warning. Admin shouldn't have to say "Stop or you will be suspended" for high school kids to figure out they might face some unpleasant consequences if they keep doing something.

    If the kids were really smart, they would have just moved the Tebowing to a larger location (cafeteria, gym, outside) where their action would not impede other students. Then it would be more difficult for admin to claim the action was impacting other students.
     
  8. MissJill

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    Take a look at the video and look closely at the kids, how many of them would you say are actually focused on a prayer? It was like a flash mob, they are created to cause an interruption. If they were warned, then it's out of the question they should be suspended. I'm sure every kid has a cellphone, but that phone was on before the first kid was down. That is a planned event. They're all laughing and making sure they got on camera. Is that what prayer is supposed to be about? Wrong place, wrong time.
     
  9. smurfette

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    After reading the article, it sounds like the title should be, "Students Suspended for Blocking Hallways and Creating Unsafe Hallway Conditions."
     
  10. JustMe

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    Unacceptable. That is an adult I assume repeatedly telling them to get up from the ground and yet more make the pose and the crowd gets louder. Just flatout unacceptable. Suspension seems severe (but that's probably because at my school you can draw pictures of you violently murdering your teacher and not be suspended, among other things), but I overall take no issue with the punishment. They were being goofy (not "bad", minus the disrespect in ignoring the adult), but there are some fun memories which come at a cost.
     
  11. kpa1b2

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    I'm guessing that this is the incident that my son said that 2 students got suspended for praying in school. Hmm, think I'll have a talk with him to see if this is the same story. If it is, then he needs more details. I did tell him that we probably didn't have the full story.
     
  12. MissJill

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    Great point.
     
  13. Special-t

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    Take a look at the Tebowing website. The purpose is not to do the gesture as a sincere prayer - the purpose is to "Tebow" in an absurd location and then laugh at the resulting photo.

    I think the fairness of the suspension would depend upon the school. I work at a small school. Even if 20 kids did it during passing, it would not cause a mob effect or create a hazard. We don't have gang problems or group defiance at my school. At a larger school with hundreds of kids passing (and perhaps problems with group behavior) a suspension might be justified.
     
  14. bandnerdtx

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    Exactly! This was intended to disrupt the school day, and I think suspension was completely justified.
     
  15. Cerek

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    Really? Some of the photos and poses are obviously done as a joke, but others appear sincere.
     
  16. bandnerdtx

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    I think the kids see that as part of the joke. It's funnier (to them) when it appears sincere.
     
  17. JustMe

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    Tebowing is in the same vein as owling and planking. The vast majority of people do it for kicks (thus the site), and these students don't seem to be an exception based on their laughing and hollering.

    ETA: Allow me to clarify that many, many instances may be sincere tributes to the football player, but not "the man upstairs". I just don't believe most people are praying, those students included.
     
  18. waterfall

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    Sincere or not, I think getting suspended for that is absurd. That's going to be on their records when they're trying to get into college. Hopefully, wherever they're going admissions has a sense of humor. I wouldn't change my opinion if they were just doing it as a joke or they were doing it as a shout-out to the football player. I don't think "blocking the hallway" was their intention at all. Like the students, I'd expect at the most they'd just be told to stop. This must be a school with little to no discipline problems if kneeling in the hallway gets you suspended- they're obviously not used to dealing with real incidents. The only justification I could see for them actually getting in trouble would be if they were told to stop and refused, but it doesn't sound like that happened, especially since they even said themselves that the most they would expect was to be told to stop-implying they would do so if asked. All that needed to happen was for a teacher to simply tell them to get up and move on. In my school, teahcers are out in the hallways at all times, so this wouldn't have lasted more than a few seconds.

    As for the "hollering", if you watch the video, it's the kids around them that are yelling (the ones not participating but just watching), not the kids that are "tebowing." The video was also clearly taken by a bystander with a phone, not a "set up camera planned in advance." You can tell by how the screen moves around.
     
  19. JustMe

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    Someone (a teacher, it seems...you see some of her body and what appears to be her keys) repeatedly told them to stop. You can hear it clearly. You can also hear the students urging each other to "stand their ground" after the teacher instructs them to get off the floor.

    And the students on the floor are most certainly hollering and laughing and even falling over each other.
     
  20. Upsadaisy

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    It's no different than if they had all decided to do some other concurrent actions - releasing helium balloons, say, or throwing nerf balls, or anything. Disruptive, and insubordinate when they defy the directives from the teacher.
     
  21. GemStone

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    I have to say those students deserved a suspension. It sounds like they were tebowing to play around and create a disruption. By their own admission, they had been previously told that their actions could create a safety hazard for other students. They chose to tebow anyway, ignore directions from staff, and act in a very poor manner.
     
  22. Cerek

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    I was thinking about the military men and the cross country team as the ones that appeared the most sincere.

    As for whether the kids think it is even funnier when the folks in the pics seem sincere, I have no way of knowing whether that is true or not.
     
  23. Cerek

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    The teacher does tell them to get up, but she doesn't really seem very insistent on it. When the students urged each other to "stand their ground", I would have stepped in, taken the leader of the group by the arm and helped him stand up to show that it was time to move on. Any students who continued urging them to stand their ground would have been given the chance to explain their defiance to the P. Still don't know that it would have been worth a suspension, but openly defying a teacher's instructions is sufficient cause for a visit to the office.
     
  24. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    I teach in a Catholic high school. We're all about prayer.

    But the other day, in a hallway with a good 400 kids in it, 3 Seniors stopped and got down on one knee. Luckily, I was standing right there. I told them that if they ever stopped traffic like that and one of them hadn't passed out, they would be in the dean's office faster than they could believe. They apologized and continued.

    Prayer is one thing. I firmly believe that God hears our prayers, no matter where we are. But stopping 400 kids, plus another 20 or 30 teachers dead in the hallway is not the way to pray. When traffic stops dead, there's always the chance that one kid, just one kid, will start to push. And then we have a serious safety risk on our hands.

    AFTER School, all alone in the chapel for an hour, might be better, if you know what I mean.

    And making a mockery of prayer simply doesn't fly with me.
     
  25. FourSquare

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    That's unfortunate, but actions have consequences. They made the wrong choice. End of story.
     
  26. waterfall

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    I rewatched it and saw that, but also noticed it was less than 10 seconds between the time she starts telling them to get up and they actually start getting up. So sure, there might be some consequence for not listening at first, but it's not like they absolutely refused to listen to her. I don't think suspension is an appropriate consequence. I honestly can't believe anyone else does- that's just beyond crazy to me. At my school, suspension is reserved for only the most severe acts such as bringing a weapon to school, serious violence, etc. We don't just go around suspending kids for every little thing they do- I mean do they suspend people for blowing off assignments and talking back in class too? I would think an after school detention at the most would be appropriate for this incident.
     
  27. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that the difference between blowing off assignments and stopping traffic in the hallway is safety. If you stop traffic in the hallway, you risk causing students to trip and fall, get stepped on, and worse. It can even cause a big panic where even more people get hurt.

    At my school we had two big food fights during lunch last week. A person could argue that students shouldn't get suspended for throwing a carton of milk or a handful of french fries. The fact is that those students have been or will be suspended for those very actions. Food spills cause hazards when people slip and fall. One of the deans got hit in the head with a bottle of Gatorade. More than anything, food fights can incite a panic or riot.

    Students need to understand that their actions have consequences. Even if their goal wasn't to hurt anyone, it surely was to cause some sort of spectacle, and those sorts of spectacles often lead to people getting injured.
     
  28. JustMe

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    The teacher wasn't very insistent? She told them to get up, unhappily, five times that I heard. Once should have been adequate. Period.
     
  29. MrsC

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    I agree that it's important for the teacher to ensure that the students follow directives, but interfering physically isn't recommended. I could find myself facing disciplinary action if I "helped" a resistant student to their feet.
     
  30. JustMe

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    I thought the same, MrsC, and thanks to the student recording it, that innocent enough act could be turned into something controversial.
     
  31. bandnerdtx

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    Same here! If we grabbed a student, even "gently" by the arm and "helped" him up, we would be in serious trouble!
     
  32. monsieurteacher

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    Really? I lost track of the number of suspensions I had in school... I don't ever remember it causing any problems with admissions.
     
  33. Cerek

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    It can be done, but you're right that it would have to be done cautiously.

    If the teacher is just going to stand there and do nothing while students encourage each other to stand their ground, then she shouldn't be surprised when they ignore her.

    As others mentioned, though, that might have aided in the decision to suspend the instigators. That sent the message that their actions wouldn't be tolerated any longer.
     
  34. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    Frankly, it should never be done. Unless you're removing a student from imminent danger or assisting a student who has been injured or something, or if you work with certain populations of students who require physical interventions or restraints, there's no reason to ever put your hands on a student. It's a lawsuit waiting to happen and one of the quickest ways to find yourself out of a job.

    The teacher didn't "stand there and do nothing". The teacher gave verbal directives, which were ignored. All the directives I've ever given have been either verbal or written. My directives have never been accompanied by physical contact, yet I've always expected that they will be followed. I'm sure the teacher expected the same in this situation, as she should reasonably have done.
     
  35. MissJill

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    If you're saying she stood there and did nothing, what exactly would you have liked her to do?
     
  36. JustMe

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    Said perfectly.
     
  37. Cerek

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    Yes. It's sad our schools and society have come to this point.:(
     
  38. callmebob

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    Praying or not, making a joke out of it or not; I look at it as a way of paying tribute and bringing attention to a great role model for kids that age. I think it is a good thing they did overall. No, they should not have disobeyed the teacher, but at the same time the teachers should have given a little slack to something as simple as this. A suspension for this is awful. If we suspeneded students every time we had to tell them twice to do something because they didn't listen the first time, half our kids would miss time for that. Safety hazard, give me a break as well. They have time inbetween classes, for that small amount of time they were down on a knee those students did not have to be moving around. They could have just stood and watched.
    Now if it came out that they were mocking prayer and the player by doing this, that is a whole other story.

    Also in response to the idea that the teacher, or another in a similar situation, should have "helped" them up by their arm, I completely agree. If I ask a student to move and they don't, I do "help" them along their way. I'm sorry, but I will not do my job in fear of potential lawsuits, as long as I know I am doing the right/necessary thing, I trust that all will be well.
     
  39. Cerek

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    If the activity really does present a safety hazard, then a teacher has the right to do what (s)he feels is necessary to protect the safety of the other students. If the counter-argument is that other students were not in imminent danger, then that contradicts the first argument that it presents a safety hazard. Admin can't have it "both ways" any more than the students can.

    I've received formal restraint training in my district. I know exactly when I can and cannot intervene and, if I do intervene, I know exactly how I am allowed to do it.

    In the video in question, I don't see that the students were creating a tremendous hazard and, in all likelihood, I would have done the same thing as the teacher - telling them to get up and move along. If they didn't comply, and I REALLY felt their action presented a safety concern, then I would take a more direct approach to clearing the hallway. That could include a number of different strategies. However, as a PP pointed out, the kids DID get up and begin moving along about 10 seconds after first being told by the teacher. I would have been satisfied with that and would not have seen the need for further actions myself.
     
  40. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I would argue that it's a good thing that our schools and society no longer permit directives to be accompanied by physical force. Our students deserve better than to be physically forced into bending to our will, even when our will is righteous. I think that in most situations they should expect to have the right to control their own bodies without being in fear that their teacher will push, pull, yank, or hit them into compliance. One of the most basic and fundamental human rights we have is the right to our own body and the right to be the ones to decide what it does and does not do. A good teacher should be able to teach and guide, without the use of force, so that students know and learn how to act appropriately.

    Hands that love don't have to push, pull, yank, or hit.
     
  41. callmebob

    callmebob Enthusiast

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    Cerek,
    I understand those points. And yes, the students did respond in a somewhat timely manner. The main idea to me is that attention is being brought to a person who is a great role model. To me, that is what should be focused on here. Instead the adults in the situation are only focusing on a suspect negative action.
    If I saw a group of students at my school do this action, I would probably join them for a few seconds and then say, ok, lets go to class.
     
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