The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

31 March 2005

If These Kids Think It's Bad Now, Just Wait Until College

Another Silly T-Shirt Flap

PC reigns in Snohomish County, Washington Public Schools

Hardly a week goes by now without a headline involving high school students caught up in a controversial flap over what they're wearing.

Certainly it's understandable, if the attire is somehow disruptive to the learning environment, but more often today, we're seeing political correctness as the motivating factor behind upset teachers and administrators.

This example may be the most ridiculous ever, as a group of boys at Snohomish High School have been prohibited from wearing T-shirts to school with the phrase "SNOHOS" on them. One was even suspended for two days.

What's the problem? Apparently some school staffers found the phrase "SNOHOS" to be derogatory toward women. Note the district spokeswoman's personal interjection into the response to a Seattle Times reporter's questions about the matter:

(Seattle Times Snohomish County Bureau- March 31, 2005- Lynn Thompson)
(Story Linked at Orbusmax)

An item on the Snohomish School District's Web site refers to the football team's "SnoHo" traditions. And "Snoho Mojo" is both a headline in the school yearbook and the name of a local espresso stand.

But when Snohomish High senior Justin Patrick wore a T-shirt to school last month with the lettering "SNOHOS" across the front, it led to his suspension from school.

School officials say "Snohos" contains a slang term for prostitutes and is derogatory toward women.

"As a woman, I am sure that you can appreciate our desire in Snohomish to maintain respect for all members of our community, especially our young women, and to not allow the abbreviated form of our school name to be used to reference them as 'ho's,' " said district spokeswoman Shannon Parthemer, in response to an e-mail query about the suspension.

Patrick and four friends say Snohos is their name for their tight group of friends and was coined four years ago when they started filming videos for fun.

"We tried Snohomians, but that was too long," said Kyle Butcher.

Another friend, Mac Stach, said they never considered the term derogatory.

Until Patrick was sent to the office last month for not having a calculator in math class, he and his friends say no one had objected to the shirts that Butcher said they wear to school "all the time."

Vice Principal Robynn Harrington told Patrick the shirt "didn't seem appropriate" for school and that he needed to cover it up. Patrick said that when he protested, Harrington called in another vice principal to confirm that the shirt violated the school dress code, which prohibits any display of words, pictures or references to alcohol, tobacco, weapons, guns or sexual innuendo.

What reference to "ho's" exists here? Anyone who has ever lived in Washington state knows that Snohomish is regularly abbreviated in various ways and settings, including government (Sno-Isle Regional Library System, for example).

There was no emphasis on "ho" in the T-shirts these boys were wearing, so what's the issue?
The real lesson these boys have learned is how oversensitive PC university grads are these days, as they enter various government and corporate positions around the country. This should serve as a head start for the kind of insanity they will face once they reach college.


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