Michigan students suspended for riding bikes to school

By Stephen C. Webster
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 12:54 EDT
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A man and a woman ride bicycles together. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
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When 64 high school students in Michigan decided that their senior prank would be to stage a bicycle parade en route to their school, none of them — including the town’s mayor, who participated — expected that the school’s principle would threaten to bar them from graduating.

But that’s precisely what happened this week at Kenowa Hills High School in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Instead of committing the traditional senior pranks, the Kenowa seniors instead decided upon an activity that promotes good health and a cleaner environment.

According to Michigan NBC affiliate Wood TV 8, they even got the local police to escort their parade, and the town’s mayor joined in, bringing them donuts.

Kenowa Principal Katie Pennington was not amused. In video captured by a mobile phone, she tells 60 of the participating seniors to “get your butts home,” then denies them entry to the campus on their last official day of school, causing many to miss their final exams and the traditional “senior walk.”

“If you and your parents don’t have sense enough to know your brains could end up splattered… then maybe that’s my responsibility,” she adds in the video, shortly before threatening to prevent the students from graduating on May 30.

Her reaction triggered outrage at a school board meeting on Tuesday night. Wood TV 8 noted that so many parents packed the administration building to criticize her that officials had to change venues at the last moment.

The school superintendent, Gerald Hopkins, ultimately relented on Pennington’s threat when she did not show up for the meeting. He also apologized to all the students who missed their final exams due to the principal’s reaction, explaining that he would have been in support of the bike ride if he’d known of it ahead of time.

This video is from Michigan NBC affiliate Wood TV 8, published May 22, 2012.

Biking Kenowa Hills seniors punished: woodtv.com


Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

(H/T: Grist)

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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