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Reflections


No End to Lunacy

by Ralph R. Reiland,
Professor of Free Enterprise at Robert Morris University
 

Jessica, 16, a sophomore at a Seattle high school, volunteered for a weeklong community service project in a third-grade classroom at a public school.

"At the end of the week, I had an idea to fill little plastic eggs with treats and jelly beans and other candy, but I was kind of unsure how the teacher would feel about that," explained Jessica on KIRO Radio's "Dori Monson Show."

Jessica said she was concerned after a meeting at the school earlier in the week, when she learned about the institution's "behavior rules."

The class teacher, after being asked by Jessica for her approval, went to the administration to see if the egg initiative was permissible. "She said that I could do it as long as I called this treat 'spring spheres,' " Jessica explained. "I couldn't call them Easter eggs."

Choosing not to dispute the administration's decision, Jessica completed the project. "When I took them out of the bag," Jessica said, "the teacher said, 'Oh look, spring spheres' and all the kids were like 'Wow, Easter eggs.' "

Similarly aimed at decontaminating the holidays, Santa Clauses in Sydney, Australia, were instructed to scrub "Ho Ho Ho" from their routines because this traditional locution could scare kids and be derogatory to hookers.

Explained Westaff, a recruiting company that has supplied thousands of Santas across Australia for more than 40 years, "We've asked our Santas to try techniques such as lowering their tone of voice and using 'Ha Ha Ha.' "

Along the same cleansing lines, the BBC has acted to discourage the use of the terms B.C. and A.D. so as not to cause possible injuries to those around the world who aren't Christians.

The BBC's religion website explained why the broadcasting corporation opted for the "religiously neutral" terms Common Era and Before Common Era, as opposed to A.D. (Anno Domini, the year of our Lord, used to specify numbered years counting from the birth of Christ in year 1) and B.C. (before Christ): "As the BBC is committed to impartiality it is appropriate that we use terms that do not offend or alienate non-Christians."

Nevertheless, the politically correct revisions to Common Era and Before Common Era might not fully protect the overly-delicate from supposed verbal injuries once they realize that the new terms still denote years in relation to the life of Christ.

In another step to create a comfortably numb environment, a 7-year-old in Tennessee, Adam Stinnett, was threatened with suspension from the Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School after showing up sporting a military haircut meant to honor his active-duty soldier-stepbrother.

The principal said the haircut violated school policy banning "Mohawk haircuts and other extreme cuts."

Bobby Ray Memorial Elementary School, incidentally, was named for Navy Hospital Corpsman David Robert "Bobby" Ray, who was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for actions during a 1969 battle in Vietnam.

The school district's director of schools, maintaining that "great stress" was caused by the negative public reaction to the threatened suspension, stated that more security had been added to the elementary school.

Ralph R. Reiland is an associate professor of economics at Robert Morris University and a local restaurateur (rrreiland@aol.com).


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