May 23rd, 2012
12:16 PM ET

Principal apologizes after sending 60 students home for senior bike ride

By Jamie Gumbrecht, CNN

(CNN) - Seniors at Kenowa Hills High School in western Michigan thought a mass bike ride to school was a sweet sendoff for the last day. Police escorted the ride and parents lined the route. The Walker, Michigan, mayor brought doughnuts.

But principal Katharine Pennington didn't know. She said the ride was dangerous, tied up traffic and prevented staff from making it to school, CNN affiliate WOOD-TV reported.

She sent more than 60 students home after the bike ride yesterday. Soon-to-be graduates were banned from participating in the senior walk - a traditional final walk through the school's hallways - and some were told they wouldn't be allowed to walk at graduation, a decision that was later reversed. Students told CNN today the senior walk was rescheduled, too.

Pennington released an apology on Wednesday, along with the superintendent, after parents and students flooded a school board work session with complaints.

“Yesterday, I made a mistake and sincerely regret my actions. Did I overreact? In retrospect, of course I did," Pennington's statement said. "I apologize to the students, their parents, and the community for a reaction that blew this incident out of proportion and called into question the character of our students. Our senior class has demonstrated leadership, unity and school pride throughout this school year. My actions and emotion overshadowed what should have been a very positive senior activity. I have learned much from this experience and do not consider myself infallible.

“I now applaud the students for their foresight in contacting the police department to ensure the safety of their senior surprise. I only wish the police department or others who may have known about this would have let us in on the surprise but, of course, it wouldn’t have been a surprise had we known in advance."

The school has  a zero-tolerance policy for senior pranks, students and parents told CNN.

"She had absolutely no clue, but, I mean, that was the whole point of it," Kenowa Hills senior Cody Nicks told CNN. "It wasn't even a prank, but a celebration for our last day ... The way it was reacted to was completely absurd."

The principal's response to the ride, which was held during National Bike Month, sparked protests among parents and students. So many packed a school board work session Tuesday night that they moved the meeting to a middle school auditorium, WOOD-TV reported.

A police officer who knew about the bike ride, but did not inform superiors, also will be subject to an internal investigation, WOOD-TV reported.

"Most of us senior parents did know about it. We found it harmless," Cody's mom, Rachel Nicks, said. "They wore bright colors, police escort ... I don't know how much safer it would have been if they would have notified the administrator."

Share in the comments: What were your senior pranks, and how did your parents, teachers and school administrators respond?

Posted by
Filed under: Behavior • Graduation • High school • Practice
soundoff (184 Responses)
  1. Debbie

    It sounds like the principal wasn't informed and had a knee jerk reaction before she found out the steps the students had taken to insure their own safety. I understand the students' wanting to surprise the staff, but perhaps all of this could have been avoided if they had included the principal. On the other hand, she may have vetoed the entire idea and it would never have gotten off the ground. I know. Have the mayor invite the principal. How could she say no then?

    May 28, 2012 at 11:58 am |
  2. Scott Tibbs

    Slash the school's budget by 10% for the next two years.

    If you hit them in the budget, they will take it seriously.

    May 28, 2012 at 7:46 am |
  3. Terri

    My guess is the principle only apologized under pressure, just an opinion, we all know what thet is worth. Schools have a difficult task, everyone wants equality, equity is more important, but people these days are allowed to rule without any common sense what so ever. This should have been a delightful event, the Principle felt her "control" was lost, hey lady, control is an illusion.

    May 25, 2012 at 10:24 am |
  4. hypatia

    She's an idiot who needs to be fired immediately for having no common sense, no horse sense and absolutely no sense of proportion. She should not be entrusted with any decision bigger than picking out her own underwear for the day.

    May 24, 2012 at 6:46 pm |
    • Terri

      Fired? Wow, your reaction is as over the top as hers.

      May 25, 2012 at 10:25 am |
  5. knight

    i am one of the students that got suspended for this. i beleive she had a right to be concerned for our saftey buttt this story would not of made it national if she didnt react the way she did, im still not sure what made her so mad at us but her reaction was very rude and disrespectfull and thats why this story got as far as it did

    May 24, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
    • NB

      Your "prank" is one of the BEST senior plans I have ever seen; nicely thought out. My only problem with your post is your poor spelling. Thankfully, CNN doesn't grade on speelling! Congratulations and best wishes to you all!

      May 25, 2012 at 9:31 am |
      • LOL

        And you make a comment about “spelling”? You really should look over your own first, before bashing someone for theirs.

        May 25, 2012 at 3:18 pm |
    • J

      I agree, the question is how many other times in the past has she overreacted on one child which do not make it to national NEWS

      May 25, 2012 at 12:14 pm |
  6. ISurvivedPublicSchool

    Typical public school idiocy.

    May 24, 2012 at 3:06 pm |
  7. Mike

    We're worrying about our kids being overweight, but we won't let them bike to school, in a group, with police escort? They are about to graduate, but we're ready to suspend them for riding their bikes to school? We just completed National "Bike to work week"...

    Zero tolerance just means that the adults/teachers/administrators don't have to think about their own actions. No wonder our educational system is in so much trouble.

    May 24, 2012 at 11:01 am |
  8. PJ

    No surprises - it would have been polite and professional to have let the school administration in on the plan. The surprise could have been for the rest of the student body and the teachers.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:34 am |
    • Paul A

      I just wonder if kids have to notify the administration every day when they plan to drive to school. Statistically it is far more dangerous for kids to drive than to ride their bikes, and I would bet that the number of cars and school buses coming to this school every day is far more likely to cause delays than kids riding their bikes.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • nimbexed

      agreed, but that is hindsight. They had the best of intentions it seems.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
  9. Hey You

    In general, so-called zero tolerance policies are stupid. They remove all room for rational thought and discretion.

    May 24, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  10. Auntie Mabel

    The principal overreacted, yes. But I also think that she deserves credit for admitting that she overreacted, and reversing the punishments she'd handed out. She's human, she made a mistake, and she owned up to it. No need to rake her over the coals for it.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:48 am |
    • Parent

      Thank you. I had read this whole article being very upset with the principal. I totally overlooked her very frank mea culpa. When so many apologies turn into attempts at justification, this principal stepped up and took responsibility for her actions. Bravo!

      May 24, 2012 at 10:20 am |
    • Jennifer

      I live in this school district. The principal refused to go to the school board meeting that was held that night, and she didn't issue a public apology, but hid behind the written word. She berated the students before sending them home for the day (back on their bikes without the safety of a police escort mind you). She made a very emotional, irrational, quick decision that came back to bite her. The only reason she apologized is politics. She was getting pressure from the entire community for her irrational reaction. This is her first year as a principal She's inexperienced and overreacted.

      May 24, 2012 at 11:15 am |
    • Anonymous

      Agreed!

      May 24, 2012 at 11:28 am |
    • Guest

      She only apologized because of the negative publicity. There is nothing in her "apology" that suggests true remorse or even an understanding of why her decision was wrong.

      May 26, 2012 at 4:18 pm |
    • nimbexed

      Agreed, her words seem very heart felt and true. We all have made knee jerk responses to situations and have regretted them. Luckily mine were not posted on CNN, as I have many to claim.

      I sincerely wish her second thoughts came from self introspection, not a superintendent reviewing her forced apology.

      May 27, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  11. Bill

    Being a retired MS & HS administrator, I can understand the concern for the safety of students and how the administrator might have felt at the initial moment the bikes came to school. I learned early on not to make a spur of the moment decision until I was able to see the whole picture. This wasn't a prank, it wasn't vandalism like we see in some cases. It was taking what appears to be an accepted activity (senior walk) and putting their own spin on it. They acted responsibly and evidently parents were aware and gave permisiion. Unfortunately, what was or could have been a positive memorable experience turned into a negative one due to acting on impulse rather than reason.

    May 24, 2012 at 8:43 am |
  12. Jenn

    Isn't she only responsible for students actions when they are on school property. Since it took place off school grounds, she shouldn't be able to do a thing to those students. They were more likely to get in a car accident than on a bike.

    May 24, 2012 at 7:03 am |
    • legend338

      She's responsible for them the second they leave the house. At least that's way it is in VA and NC.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:10 am |
      • EMccann

        Yeah, here in GA two kids in my class were suspended for 3 days after a teacher saw them fighting one evening at a local shopping mall. I don't think such a position would stand up in court, but our schools have claimed the right to punish for any misbehavior, whether at school or not.

        May 24, 2012 at 8:19 am |
    • whorhay

      Where I went to school there was some law on the books regarding "en loco parentis" or some such. It basically meant that from the time you left your parents supervision with the eventual destination being school you were under the school's authority. The school I went to used it to punish kids over the age of 18 for smoking in their cars on the way to school among other things. Pretty bogus law in my opinion.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:52 am |
      • NB

        "en loco parentiis" is a good law. It is why teachers make students have passes during class time. It is why cuts are reported. Schools ARE responsible for their students' welfare at all times until the child safely returns home.

        May 25, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  13. matt

    Negative news story

    May 24, 2012 at 2:27 am |
    • Mike

      that's what drives me to buttersafe.com and theoatmeal.com

      May 24, 2012 at 7:39 am |
  14. Biker

    Imagine if 60 students at every high school decided to ride thier bikes into school everyday instead of driving or taking the bus, but instead to do something healthy. I am so sorry a public healthwise activity got such a negative reaction. Come on America.. lets make better healthier choices.. and a bike ride to school is a great start!

    May 24, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  15. slc

    Yes, the punishment is nuts, but she has a point about safety. If you look the school up on Google maps, it's close to I96 and streets with fast traffic, so I suspect here was an excellent reason the police were brought in. Some places are suited to riding bikes and some aren't, and maybe the difficulty of riding a bike to school is the story being lost in the more sensationalist "the educator is a jerk" theme. In any case, it wasn't a prank on the school, but on the people whose commute was disrupted.

    May 24, 2012 at 2:01 am |
  16. Torrence

    Until those children pass through the schools doors and become wards of the state, how they get to school is their business. I every student in the school decided to go to school on a bke every day of the year, that is not a school decision. The schools only concern is they pass through those doors on time. What takes place in the streets of the city/town before school is a police issue- if they see it that way.

    May 24, 2012 at 1:06 am |
  17. Tekelder

    Zero tolerance = zero thinking = zero effort required by administrators. Why do we need principals or administration when there are zero tolerance policies in place. Maybe they could be replaced with low paid TSA operatives.

    May 24, 2012 at 12:40 am |
  18. Mark

    what the heck....it WASN'T a prank!! why does the reporter keep calling it a prank????!!!!

    May 24, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  19. tkazgirl

    I am one of those that chose other. I don't think the students and parents should be upset and I do think the school over-reacted. In fact, the school officials should have lauded these students for their involvement in bike month. It shows an interest in environmental matters and community awareness.

    May 23, 2012 at 11:53 pm |
  20. rickn

    Wow this principal should be fired. If this is how she handles kids riding bikes to school, it doesn't say much for ability to handle any other situation

    May 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  21. Julie

    A healthy group event promoting exercise was punished. And we wonder why our society is overweight...

    May 23, 2012 at 9:34 pm |
  22. Napoleon

    Another power-junkie who's been dictator to a kingdom of children for so long she's lost touch with how normal people relate to one another. Her apology is so obviously forced and insincere. What a way to leave a permanent black mark and sour after-taste on what otherwise should have been a great memory for these students to cherish for a lifetime.

    May 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
  23. Dan H.

    The school principle overreacted and should be penalized for it. I'm not sure how she was able to frame students riding their bikes to school, even en mass, as a prank, but she should be disciplined for reacting on emotion and a hurt ego. Let's be honest, it was the fact that she was removed from the decision making process that really caused her reaction. If anyone should have been sent home, it should have been her for acting on a level beneath that of an adult.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  24. earwax

    "A police officer who knew about the bike ride, but did not inform superiors, also will be subject to an internal investigation, WOOD-TV reported."

    Isn't the mayor who was handing out doughnuts the officer's top superior?

    May 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
    • nebraska

      The police chief is upset that he did not get his share of doughnuts!!

      May 23, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
  25. Keith

    A zero tolerance policy is so that ignorant and immature Administrators will not have to think or take responsibility for their actions.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:13 pm |
    • Dixie

      Sure, easy to say admin is uptight now, but those same parents would be the FIRST to sue the city and school system if a vehicle rammed into all those students. Why do the kids have to do it? It's an unnecessary risk–have your scheduled senior walk and graduation–why this need to always prove rules don't apply to you?

      May 23, 2012 at 8:39 pm |
      • nebraska

        What rule did they break? Not safety. I think having a police escort should take care of that. If the drivers in the town are that bad, maybe they all should ride or walk to work.

        May 23, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
      • JackieK.

        Dixie: I live in Walker and my daughters graduated from Kenowa High School. The streets they rode on were city residential and city streets. If a vehicle rams a bunch of kids riding bikes, then that is the driver's fault. My daughters ride their bikes around the neighborhood and to their jobs routinely. As others have pointed out...people ride bikes on city streets and country roads all the time. Video of their senior ride shows they weren't goofing around and were obeying traffic laws. Safety was addressed and parents lined the route. I guess you also think a slow funeral procession is bad also, somebody could plow into slow moving vehicle and get hurt. Not everybody goes around worrying about being or getting sued.

        May 23, 2012 at 10:38 pm |
      • tkazgirl

        Wait, there is a rule against riding your bike to school now??? DANG! Maybe we do need to get the government outta our biznez

        May 23, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
      • Keith

        That kind of thinking only leads to the "Nanny State" kind of thinking that causes Zero Tolerance policies. School administrators and teachers need to join the real world.

        May 24, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  26. Input

    Considering all the things that these students could have done (vandalism, wide spread pranks, etc.), I don't think that this should have been handled in this manner.

    May 23, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
  27. b

    katie p. needs to loosen up a little bit she is too upadee

    May 23, 2012 at 7:55 pm |
    • Keith

      She needs to get laid more often

      May 23, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  28. Gordon123

    Once again, Public Schools blow it. This is another reason why there should be a voucher system that allows parents to send their kids to the school of their choice. Zero tolerance creates way more issues than it solves. Use common sense people, oh yeah they don't have any. The are educators not teachers.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
    • Athos

      Sure, farm schools out to Halliburton who can hire minimum wage staff. Get rid of some more decent paying tax generating occupations. Indentured servitude for the masses I say.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:18 pm |
  29. Tired of mandatory responses

    We have way too many zero-tolerance policies – in schools, work places and worst of all, mandatory sentencing in criminal justice.

    They inevitably lead to punishment of the innocent or with minor or even just questionable infractions, out of proportion reactions like this one. We should be able to expect principals, executives and judges to use judgement, not act like automata.

    May 23, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  30. Christy Rachelle Ford

    I have zero faith in the school system nowadays. This is another reason why.

    May 23, 2012 at 6:34 pm |
  31. hypatia

    Apparently, zero tolerance really means hiring zero *&*$& for brains morons as principals.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:59 pm |
    • Not A Moron

      I doubt the principals enacted the zero-tolerance directive. More likely the "*&*$& brain moron" voters who liked the catch-phrase without thinking of the consequences.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:43 pm |
  32. David

    When does a school have a say in how a student transports him or herself to school. It is totally legal to ride your bicycle to school. What are they going to do next tell them they can' t bring peanut butter sandwhiches to school because someone has a nut allergy.
    What a joke this is

    May 23, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Nivicoman

      All schols and all school staff are a joke. No common sense, no logic, no sense of "let's get all the facts before making a decision", and so on. Next schools will claim that their students are (name of school) students 24/7/365 and subject to their regulations as such.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • BlueTemplar

      Actually some schools are doing that. Banning peanut butter due to the allergie.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:55 pm |
      • Jaime

        Isn't that, I don't know, discrimination isn't the right word. But if we ban peanut butter due to allergies, shouldn't we ban eggs, milk, fish, wheat, strawberries, grapes, tree nuts, etc?

        On a related note, my friend in Canada was ill and didn't want to make her son's lunch so I suggested she pack him leftover pizza and be done with it and she informed me both she and her son would get in trouble for bringing junk food to school. Now there's regulation for ya. And no, this wasn't a private school.

        May 24, 2012 at 1:29 am |
    • Me

      Peanut buttersandwiches are already banned in some schools due to a concern over allergy concerns.

      May 23, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
    • INDYKIM

      yes, some schools do ban peanut butter sandwiches. makes brown bagging it difficult

      May 24, 2012 at 9:42 am |
    • Livetlearn

      Actually David I live in Agawam, Ma. and my children are not allowed to bring in peanut butter due to the chance that someone could be allergic. It drives me crazy! I'm allergic to perfume so can we ban all public places of perfume? The principal simply threw a hissy fit because she feels her "subjects" didn't grovel properly before her capricous authority!

      May 29, 2012 at 5:13 am |
  33. JennyBreeze

    I seriously don't understand. Am I missing something? Why would you need to tell the police chief or your principal if you wanted to ride your bike to school? Maybe I read the article too fast. I don't get it.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:41 pm |
    • Danielle

      I am familiar with the area in which this school is built. There are no sidewalks for pedestrians, there is no bike path, no bike "lane" on the side of the road. It's a rural road with a 55 MPH speed limit where cars often go 70. I can completely understand the students notifying police, and I applaude their foresight. However, this principal is NUTS to have suspended them!

      May 23, 2012 at 5:57 pm |
  34. Niyol45

    Not a day goes by that there is not yet another story of utter stupidity on the part of a school official. Time for a complete overhaul of our education system. If educators are going to rely on "zero tolerance" instead of using judgement and common sense, they are unfit to teach.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • Santos

      Amen!

      May 23, 2012 at 5:45 pm |
    • Santos

      That was an AMEN to Niyol45's comments. 0 tolerance for students?! What about 0 tolerance for faculty!!! We need less babysitters and more educators!!

      May 23, 2012 at 5:47 pm |
      • AJD

        Unfortunately Santos, stories like this about a small minority of inept or abusive faculty make the majority of educators look bad. Please do not paint all of the hard working educators out there that spend so much of their own personal time and money to educate students with the same negative brush. I find it ironic that you use the term "babysitting" because that is what many schools are being forced to do but it's not because of the teachers or the schools themselves being "bad" but because parents aren't doing their job. They're sending their children to school having done NOTHING to contribute to the education of their child or their preparedness for school, not teaching their children respect and proper behavior or instilling in them the value of education. Then when the schools try to teach children these things, the parents act like their children's defense attorneys instead of a partner with the school in their child's education and threaten to sue the school and raise all kinds of cain. The problem with our schools in an overwhelming majority of cases lies with the parents, not with the schools or their faculty. Until people start opening their eyes and seeing this and demand something be done about it, our schools are not going to get any better.

        May 23, 2012 at 7:50 pm |
      • another take

        I agree with you, Santos, and I agree with AJD. So much of the ability of our educators is removed when parents don't take responsibility for their own children. Zero tolerance is a shame because common sense is thrown out the window. It's a loose-loose situation. I am happy to be able to homeschool my children, and it's tough work that not everyone has the freedom to do. But i am taking the responsibility to train, educate, and discipline the charges i have. I wish every parent had the opportunity to be a public school teacher for a week – they'd see just how much work that job is and they might change their tune a little. Maybe. I would guess that most teachers want to do a great job teaching our young people, but there are so many factors that take the joy and the sense of accomplishment out of the picture. Good judgement, however, should not be so quickly thrown out the window, as it was in this case.

        May 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • Nivicoman

      The purpose of being a school official is not to educate but exercise power and control.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:33 pm |
  35. Val Rankov

    I do not understand the 0-tolerance policy? Are people, and particularly young people, 0-error beings? Can we apply the 0-toleramce policy towards the principal?

    "Errare humanum est" 0-tolerance policy is absurd.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Tired of mandatory responses

      Zero-tolerance policies are preparing us for the rise of the machines and bowing to our robot overlords.

      This principal might as well be a robot. She acted like one.

      May 23, 2012 at 7:33 pm |
  36. CA Liberal

    0 tolerance = 0 intelligence. A knee jerk reaction that requires no thought.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:08 pm |
  37. AJD

    Zero tolerance polices are the lazy way out of having to think and make common sense decisions based on the facts of an incident. These policies have come about many times due to administration refusing to stand up to parents and allowing them to walk all over them for fear of lawsuits (even though most times the parents wouldn't have a leg to stand on in a lawsuit anyway since policies are clearly written in the handbooks and most times parents have to sign and return a slip saying they've read and accept them.) Most of the problems in our schools today are NOT due to bad teachers or teachers unions or any of that tripe but due to parents not doing their jobs.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:07 pm |
  38. A motorcyclist

    Let's see, most of a senior class coordinated with the mayor and police department to have a mass ride of their bicycles to school during a week devoted to bicycling for transportation is bad. Hundreds of thousands of motorcyclists clogging the nations capitol city on the day before Memorial Day (Rolling Thunder) is good. I don't see the difference. Please help me see the problem with the seniors.

    May 23, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  39. su3385

    Sounds like Katie P. needs to be replaced, although 0 tolerance means just that 0. Guess a change of policy is needed also.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
  40. AJD

    I think it's good that she apologized, but it seems that it was sort of a forced thing after all of the parents and students flooded the school board meeting. I would still have huge concerns that a principal would have overreacted this way to something like this in the first place. Her over reaction led to what should have been a great, fun memory of the end of these students' school years becoming negative ones and that can't be changed no matter how many apologies this principal makes. Also now students in the future will be nervous and afraid to do anything harmless that's creative and fun in celebration of their accomplishments making the school a downer to attend. One of the joys of being in education is seeing the creative spirit and sharing in the joys of students in their youth. Of course there are rules that must be followed and some things cross the line and should not be acceptable, but if this is the kind of thing that sends her over the edge she needs to go work as a prison administrator instead of as an administrator of a school.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:55 pm |
    • Keith

      She didn't have much choice after the whole town turned out to tell her she F'ed up.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:20 pm |
  41. george

    Principal should be fired. School districts don't have the funds to waste on salaries for idiot administrators like this one. Lord knows how much of the taxpayers money Pennington has wasted in her role.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:54 pm |
    • another take

      Yea, she make a hugely bad decision. Would you seriously consider firing someone over this? How many really good decisions has she made? Have you had a day where you just made a really dumb decision? Would you be agree with your boss who would fire you for it? Let's not be quite so judemental on so little information. And lets compare this human with ourselves, rather than a perfect human – who doesn't exist.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
  42. Smarter

    I know this school district and the reaction from Pennington was ridiculous.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:46 pm |
  43. beez

    all this principl did was make excuses for her over reaction.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:43 pm |
  44. davey

    I have zero tolerance for buffoons like her. There are thousands like her and her bosses in our school systems and they are entrusted with the education of our children. Disgusting.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  45. another thought

    It's interesting. I work at a school and don't know exactly how I feel about this. If students and parents are billing this themselves as a "Prank" then they have to respect the fact that the did go against a Zero Tolerance Policy of which they were aware before they OK'd it. If they are simply stating that they went out to organize kids to ride a bike in a sense of camaraderie for their last day then it was not a "Prank" and should not be hailed as such. Is the "crime vs punishment" a bit ridiculous in this situation? Perhaps.

    We should be able to have fun and enjoy ourselves in a respectful and safe manner and it seems as if these kids misnamed what they were doing.

    In my experience being a part of a school system, parents and administration want policy but they also want to find exceptions to the policies and they want it at their convenience. I just think it sends a very confusing message to people about rules and policy– follow when they make sense and are convenient. But who's to say whose standards to follow in cases of exception? This unfortunately is an extreme example of the ridiculous state we are all in with regard to law.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:15 pm |
  46. Pat

    The kids did a very responsible thing and the principal should heva been proud that they set up an event that did not require their assistance. Maybe it was a power trip, the kids got the attention of the mayor and poor little principal wasn't included. BOOOHOOOO.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  47. NixBox2

    What happened to the good ole' days when seniors let three pigs painted "1", "2", and "4" loose in the school and then watching the administration search for pig "3" all summer long.

    May 23, 2012 at 4:11 pm |
    • Jilleranda

      HAHAHA, i did that in 1982, and i greased them well. They searched for 3 weeks to find it. Thanks fr the reminder.

      May 23, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
  48. Name*Witness

    "Zero tolerance" in schools repeatedly leads to embarrassment. I appreciate that there arerigid people who are none too bright who feel more secure when they can av
    oid thinking.

    They shouldn't be in leadership positions.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
    • another thought

      This may be true but it's not a guarantee that the people who wrote this policy are the same ones who were enforcing it. While I agree it's a silly situation, I feel it's unfortunate that anyone in a position of responsibility had to deal with this at all.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:17 pm |
  49. AnotherView

    Did the principal over react...? Sure. However, to her credit, when confronted about her mistake, she was big enough to apologize and take responsibility for her actions. All too often there are like cases of over reaction by school personnel, but they NEVER admit their error or fault.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  50. typical

    Another typical mindless drone in a position of power in the education field. Shocking...

    May 23, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  51. uneducated

    Come on folks, the entire senior graduation class planned and carried out a mass movement of students to the school. This is a prank anyway you look at it. Being a school official comes with a lot of burdens, and first and foremost is the safety of kids. So we had one officer involved that made (ZERO) notifications to his work and or to the school to check and see if this event was planned or approved by the school. This is the United States of America where parents of injured kids sue anyone and everyone! That principal had every right to take the action she did, the sad part about this is she and the school board allowed public opinion to over ride the safety policies the school has in place because I'm quite sure there were just way too many kids involved. Does this make what the did right? Oh hell no, they got away with it.....My heart goes out to the teachers and school officials that are charged with the care of our kids day in and day out balancing what is right and what is wrong and what is safe and what is not.....

    May 23, 2012 at 3:49 pm |
    • Damon

      Perhaps I'm missing something, but what is wrong with riding a bike to school?

      May 23, 2012 at 4:06 pm |
    • another thought

      I agree with you. It's sad. If you don't want to enforce zero tolerance policies then don't have them. I'm not saying I agree with the policy, but I do think that you have to do your job as an official and not cave to public opinion. Like you said, I'm sure there would be plenty of parents who would be happy to sue the school and publicly chastise the officials, and all school administration/staff had something tragic occurred.

      May 23, 2012 at 4:24 pm |
    • JP

      You Sir are uneducated. Did you grow up in a prision or were you rased by the Nazi Party!

      May 23, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
  52. vatoloke

    Can anyone say "Stick-in-the-mud?"

    May 23, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  53. SKC

    This is just another case of a massive over reaction by a school principal. An administrator who feels slighted because she wasn't consulted on a matter that really was way outside her lane anyway. School administrators need to be called to account for reactions like this. Susspensions without pay, formal repremands, dismissals (in extreme cases) at the very least force them to issue a public appology in the presance to all those that have suffered from their arrogance. Something needs to be done to curb these types of reactions by self-important control freaks. Take them down a peg. Publicly humiliate them and it will force others of their ilk to think twice

    May 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm |
  54. uneducated

    if one of the students would have been injured or killed on this ride, would the school have been named in a lawsuit?

    May 23, 2012 at 3:37 pm |
  55. rachael.

    I go to kenowa and i dont like mr. penngiton at all and she really didnt need to send them home, not only did it affect them it also affected other people that were not seniors. I think she should leave.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:25 pm |
    • Jacques

      Actually you should probably keep as many teachers and principals as you can until you learn to write mush bettah dan u did alrerady. LOL

      May 23, 2012 at 3:39 pm |
      • another take

        LOL! Jacques – my thoughts exactly!!! I'm sorry rachael, you rather incrimminate yourself!

        May 23, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
  56. mcskadittle

    what part of this ride was the prank?

    May 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
    • rachael.

      it wasent really a prank. i was just something that all the seniors could do together on there last day. They said it was bad because they held up traffic but penngitons just dumb.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:27 pm |
      • AnotherView

        Apparently, the biggest crime is allowing students go through high school and be as poorly educated, grammatically speaking, as you appear.

        May 23, 2012 at 3:57 pm |
      • Cp454

        @AnotherView....If you're going to insult a high school student posting on a public forum for grammar usage you may want to be grammatically correct yourself. "...allowing students TO go through high school..."

        May 23, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
    • John

      And what laws or school rules were broken? None. She had no right over what they did whatsoever.

      May 23, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
  57. iceload9

    It would bother me more knowing how "out of the loop" a principal is in her own school. The mayor knew ad police knew but not one out of sixty students felt like telling the principal.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm |
  58. rad666

    How is riding a bike to school considered as prank?? My god we as a country have completely lost our minds. we really need to get a grip, stop sweatin the small stuff and worry about the big thingsd, jobs, economy,war, etc.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:19 pm |
  59. AJD

    So what if these 100 students had all just decided on their own to ride their bikes to school that day and there had been no organization of it? I know that's not likely to happen, but what if that had been the case? Is riding a bike to school illegal now too?? This principal WAY overreacted and should apologize to these students and their parents. I'm sure there are many more important issues that the principal would have good reason to be upset about....this is NOT one of them. If I had a child in this school I would not feel comfortable with the leadership of that school after this. She definitely showed herself to not be a rational person with good judgement.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:08 pm |
  60. boarddog

    So it's National Bike Month, seniors organized and procured not only the permission of the mayor but also the police department and this lady goes rector. Sounds to me like this senior class should be commended...not punished.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:05 pm |
  61. Goducks73

    I condone the vigilante beating of that principal.

    May 23, 2012 at 3:03 pm |
    • John

      You're an idiot.

      May 23, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • McLivin

      I 2nd that motion!

      May 23, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  62. Mary

    Now the poilice officer that escorted them is being investigated for not folowing protocal..

    May 23, 2012 at 2:47 pm |
  63. Sarah

    That principal needs to get la1d

    May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ross

      Agreed

      May 23, 2012 at 2:49 pm |
    • Keith

      I am glad you agree, that is what I said. She does seem a bit tense, doesn't she

      May 23, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
  64. Mary Jane

    Look like there will be a Job opening for a Principle real soon

    May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  65. Baller

    If the police and mayor, who certainly superced a Principal, are Ok with it, then clearly it did not deter traffic or cause any harm or impediment to anyone. Sounds like the students went out of their way to clear this with the proper authorities which is pretty incredible for today's youth. I completely think this principal is in the wrong...I do not know how this can even be remotely classified as a 'prank'...so her invoking her "right" to suspend them based on the 0 tolerance policy is out-of-bounds and a horrible judgment call. The parents and students of this school have every right to be upset especially because the senior traditions were taken away from them...high school senior week is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to have those memories that last forever, and now this principal ruined it for these dozens of kids. Shame on her. Since when is riding bikes to school, or getting there via any method, especially when legally sanctioned and given permisssion and an ESCORT by the MAYOR and the cops a prank???? If they rode bicycles IN the school or anything close, then I could possibly understand these ramification, but this? Seriously? PRINCIPAL PENNINGTON, what were you thinking??? How could you do that to these kids?

    May 23, 2012 at 2:34 pm |
  66. bobp

    Clearly the principal needs to be fired immediately.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:22 pm |
  67. Ice Cube in Ice T

    If dat been me I be goin back to da school an given dat cracka principal a reason to ban me...NO LIMIT!

    May 23, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  68. Aaron

    Maybe we are missing some information. Maybe when questioned the students did act disrespectfully. To me that's missing the point though. These students were called on the carpet for riding their bikes to school as a group of friends. These guys tried to do everything right. I can't recall ever getting police or mayoral approval for any of the pranks I pulled. Does that sound like a bunch hooligans to you? "The staff got tied up in traffic so let's punish the kids". Come on! Next week when they get tied up in road construction should we suspend the work crews?! The principal stated it was dangerous; really? More dangerous than any other day these students bike to school? Sounds to me like the police presence made this the SAFEST ride these kids had in their 12 years in school! Based on the information in this article, it seems to me the only person upset about this is the principle because no one thought to tell her. Then again, do they need to have her approval for all of their BEFORE school activities? Next week it's detentions for all those who eat Pop-Tarts for breakfast without the approval of the administration. Sound ridiculous? So does getting suspended for riding your bike to school with your friends during "Bike to Work" week.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:17 pm |
    • another take

      Unfortunately, there is a similar case from last week in Indiana where five students got permission, and a key, from a school board member, persmission from a head custodian, and an escort from a custodian when they entered the school and decorated it with Post-it notes that the students purchased. They, or course, were expelled for failing to get proper authorization! I suppose they should have invited the principal and the mayor.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:10 pm |
  69. r.winski

    I am tired of the 0 tolerance plicyies of schools, how dare they ban fredfom of expression, Speach and a half doven other violations of the constution. Did they for get every thing they learned in civics. The principal should be fired let her find a job she would be qualified for, sweeping floors at the mall would be good.

    May 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • one

      Did you forget everything you learned in English?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:25 pm |
      • Athos

        A voucher student.

        May 23, 2012 at 8:33 pm |
  70. Aristotelian Modern

    *as long as

    May 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm |
  71. Aristotelian Modern

    At the risk of sounding rather cliché, it seems to be the normal illogical, irrational response to a harmless event that has plagued our societal structure for, well, as humans have been able to make stupid decisions. It's slightly amusing that in "The Age of Reason," illogical reactions are a commonplace. (ie. student gets suspended for bringing toy soldiers to school, etc.) Schools seem to be a gathering place for inefficient. It is rather a pity that the principal herself has not been available for comment: perhaps an explanation would cool some of the uncomfortableness of the situation. Maybe what American public schools need is a "No Tolerance Zone" for stupidity. It would probably result in a major cleansing of the administration system. =P

    May 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
  72. Sun

    This is TOTAL BS! This was done OFF CAMPUS, not during school hours, what right does this sactimonious t**t have to even comment on it? I would sue the school and her specifically if this was my child's school.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • MJR

      axtually the courts have ruled that even situations away from school, infact, situations that don't even involve school are relevant and students can be punished. There are several Facebook cases. However, in this case the school board would not be remiss in sending the principal to the "wood shed." for some "timeout time!"

      May 23, 2012 at 2:38 pm |
  73. Berman

    This principal needs to go to the ER to get the stick surgically removed from her butt. I can't imagine what a miserable little troll she is.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  74. Tat-2

    OH FOR THE LOVE OF!!!!!!! What a STOOOOPID society we are becoming.......It's no wonder we are lsoing to the rest ofthe world...

    May 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
  75. Megan Rae

    I would like to make a correction to the story. This event occurred yesterday, May 22nd, NOT last week. I know this to be fact because they rode by my house and I witnessed it! Not to mention that is what WOOD TV 8, the source of the story and my local NBC news affiliate also states!

    Personally, I thought it was pretty neat to see all of those students parade by while their parents stood along the sidewalk (in front of my house) and cheered them on. It didn't bother me one bit, nor did it make me late for work!

    Also, the 60-65 students initially suspended were the ones who showed up to the Principal's little rant in the auditorium first thing that morning. The number of kids suspended has nothing to do with their actions, because none of them acted in a disrespectful way.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:48 pm |
    • jgumbrechtcnn

      Thanks, Megan Rae! The information passed to us after the interview on CNN was not correct, but we checked it out and have changed our story.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
      • Megan Rae

        You're welcome!🙂

        May 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  76. hamsta

    Makes me wonder what the principals response to a real prank would be. my definition of a prank would be something like superglueing her desk drawers closed or balancing a bucket of ice water on top of her door. what these kids did was a good natured, community driven, good for their health, innocent celebration. that principal should be suspended without pay.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
  77. William

    The Superintendent needs to fire that Principal. See what $100k per year gets you these days?

    May 23, 2012 at 1:41 pm |
  78. TacoDave

    Palintwit: It is amazing that you were able to link a random news story to your dislike of a political figure. You are so smart and Palin is so stoooopid, right? Obviously.

    Grow up.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  79. Leila

    I'm a high school teacher and I will tell you that there are two (2) ways to stand up for what you believe is right: one is like a civilized, respectful young person and the other is like a ranting spoiled brat. I suspect that the when the principal admonished the kids, several (like the 60 who were suspended) reacted with indignant and rude protestations which got them into trouble, NOT the act of bicycling itself. If kids are going to defend themselves, they need to know how to make their case without risking being suspended for insubordination and defiance. There is more to this story than just riding their bikes to school. Something transpired AFTER that caused a conflict and the decision to cite zero tolerance.

    I agree with everyone here. The bike riding was a POSITIVE thing to do and was most certainly NOT a prank! It was a celebration. However, insofar as it caused some disruption (traffic) the principal was within her right to intervene for the interests of the safety. What if a parent was in a hurry to drop off his/her child at school and haphazardly sped through the traffic and ran over a biker???? That could have happened! Teachers worried about being late for work might have thrown caution to the wind and hit a biker. If I was the principal, I would be concerned first about the safety of the other kids on foot. Bikers can be dangerous riders too! Especially teenagers!

    May 23, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
    • Berman

      "I suspect that the when the principal admonished the kids, several (like the 60 who were suspended) reacted with indignant and rude protestations which got them into trouble, NOT the act of bicycling itself."....So you're just guessing this happened. You didn't actually read that anywhere, but just decided that's what happened. You actually have no idea what happened and are making up facts that suit your predetermined judgment that the kids were in the wrong.

      "What if a parent was in a hurry to drop off his/her child at school and haphazardly sped through the traffic and ran over a biker???? That could have happened!"...Then that would be the parent's fault and he/she should be charged with a felony. If you see a police escort and 100 bikers wearing bright clothes and STILL hit the gas then it's 1000% your fault.

      Your response is 100% invalid. I hope you don't teach debate.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:47 pm |
    • Monijohn3

      I agree totally with how teens react....in this case they did have a police escort and the Mayor was involved...here is part of the story from the Board Meeting with Parent reactions and the Principal was recorded the day of the "event"
      http://www.woodtv.com/dpp/news/local/kent_county/Parents-outraged-by-bike-ride-reaction

      May 23, 2012 at 1:54 pm |
    • Monijohn3

      Also if she were so concerned for their safety and the traffic delays it would cause – why did she send them home the same way they arrived at school??

      May 23, 2012 at 1:58 pm |
    • Sun

      The police, parents and the MAYOR were there to handle it, Your reasoning is faulty. I also taught in public schools for 9 years, and I think this is total BS, and the principle should be fired.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:01 pm |
      • You're kidding right?

        You taught for nine years and you think the "principle" should be fired???

        May 24, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Iamptr

      What if... what if... what if...
      The growing nanny state and the politically correct gone crazy is the use of the 'what ifs'

      May 23, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
    • Todd T

      Except in my experience most principals are power hungry and ready to show off their influence for any little thing. Same as the school boards, a bunch of people trying to justify their importance at the cost of the children that aren't 18 yet... the only people that can't really fight back.
      I believe the police are the ones to judge of what is considered too dangerous in the community, not a principal.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm |
    • Chris

      I think the Police Department in general has a better grasp on safety than some random school administrator. Seems more like the reason for suspension was an excuse because the principal was insulted that nobody asked her what she thought. And since when did it become a prank/crime for kids (or anyone) to ride bikes in groups?

      May 23, 2012 at 2:23 pm |
    • Mike

      Leila, perhaps your comments reflect the underlying problem with teacher/student relations today ... you align with the principal because you too are a control freak and at heart would have also felt bad that you weren't invited on the ride. So to get even with the students you’d do the same "it's my ball and you can't play with it" dance yet hide behind the veil of maturity in claiming the students didn’t debate you properly after your psycho behavior. Everyone reading this story has a good idea what happen. The principal felt left out or the decision making process and to get even with the kids for taking away her “power” she pushed them into a state of disbelief of her behavior. Then she sent them home by saying they weren’t nice. I’m very glad my kids aren’t in your class.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:27 pm |
    • Kelly

      At Leila – I am from the Kenowa Hills Community. You are wrong about your assumptions. The kids who were suspended were ALL the ones that showed up for the meeting the principal called "for the seniors who rode their bikes to school." She would have suspended all of the bike riders but didn't have all their names (there were approx. 100). So these kids were the ones that were actually being compliant. Also, many of the kids were honor students, and school officers, hardly the belligerent, disrespectful type. I suggest you get a new career if this is the way you feel about most teens. The teens I know are fun, energetic and care for their community and others.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • cc

      Are you kidding me? The principle has no right to punish kids for acts done OUTSIDE of school. If they held up traffic, OH WELL. They hada police escort and notified the mayor. What else do you want? This was a harmless and good natured thing to do. Poor kids did something good and were punished for it. If they were rude to her so be it. She deserves it. Those parents should ban together and contact someone over this ladies head.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:37 pm |
    • Kristie

      No, that is NOT what happened! The children were respecful in every way. They even showed up to her rant about her not being in the loop. She told them to clean out their lockers and "get your butts home"! It is all about the principle not knowing about it first hand. I hope the school board deals with her appropiately. the kids did NOTHING wrong and did not deserve the treatment they received. It was meant as a fun, healthy way for the kids to end their last days in high school.

      May 23, 2012 at 2:53 pm |
    • Bill Deacon

      Thanks for giving us a practical demonstration on the inanity of the teaching profession. (It means, nonsensical and ill-informed)

      May 23, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • sarah

      The principal was actually the one making the inappropriate comments....recorded yelling at students that their stupidity could have caused their brains to be splattered on the road. She is the one who was out of control.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
    • Keith

      You are wound a little too tight too. Maybe you should apply for a job there.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  80. anon1234567

    How is this a prank? It's a healthy activity with parental and police approval! Why would the school need to be notified in advance of how children choose to get to school? Do the parents have to notify the administration if someone else (i.e. grandparent or aunt) drives the kid? Doubtful.This makes NO sense. And in light of Bike Month and the obesity problems in children (and adults) this seems like something to celebrate!

    May 23, 2012 at 1:39 pm |
  81. Monijohn3

    The killer thing is not only were the students punished but now the Officer involved is being investigated for not following procedure. All this for a bike ride!!

    May 23, 2012 at 1:35 pm |
  82. Mary N.

    I think these kids should be commended for coming up with a creative senior "event", that caused no harm, and involved officials from the community. Perhaps elevating the awareness of cyclists on the road, possibly learning that they, themselves, could choose this as a daily mode of transportation. The school, and its administration should be embarrassed by the response.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:32 pm |
  83. Mary

    Why only 60 sent home and not all of them?

    May 23, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
    • Leila

      Perhaps those 60 kids were belligerent and disrespectful when questioned by administration. I'll bet it was the response of angry students which precipitated their suspensions. Usually, kids who talk back, protest disrespectfully, or otherwise challenge administrative decisions are the ones who get suspended.

      May 23, 2012 at 1:31 pm |
      • Kelly

        At Leila – Wow! You must be a real fun teacher. NOT!! The kids who were suspended were ALL the ones that showed up for the meeting the principal called "for the seniors who rode their bikes to school." She would have suspended all of them but didn't have all their names (there were approx. 100). So these kids were the ones that were actually being compliant. Also, many of the kids were honor students, and school officers, hardly the belligerent, disrespectful type. I suggest you get a new career if this is the way you feel about most teens. The teens I know are fun, energetic and care for their community and others.

        May 23, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
      • Cp454

        You come across as being very jaded. You truly, logically believe that 60 individual students had the time and inclination to be disrespectful enough to warrant suspension on their last day of school? I guess it's not utterly impossible, just fantastically improbable. It seems much more likely that the Principal's ego took a hit and she (childishly) attempted to utilize her power/position to assuage it.

        May 23, 2012 at 4:40 pm |
      • Sue

        I am a parent of a senior that participated in this event. I agree to a point about the "labelling" or "naming" of this as a prank. It was by no means a prank. It was an organized event that showed creativity, respect for authority, and pride in the school and the students achievements. If there was not any clarification between the officer and his superiors – that is something that needs to be dealt with by the police department. The students did not react with negative or derogatory comments when they were gathered in the auditorium or outside in the parking lot. They were singing their school fight song! How crazy is that? I heard from the principals own mouth, that she let the police officer and the mayor know what she thought of the involvement. The mayor had handed out donuts to all the students, and when approached by the principal he was told "I don't think this is a donut worthy event". I am sorry for anyone who feels that the punishment was appropriate, to begin with there were almost 100 students who rode their bikes to school. Because the principal couldn't name each of the students, she asked for those who participated to come to the auditorium, where she literally berated them verbally. I have no sympathy for anyone in a position of influence on our youth, that behaves in this manner. Even though she has appologized – not in person mind you – in a letter posted to the schools website, I still feel it was made under duress, because of the whole media circus she caused by her own actions.
        All the parents of these students continue to applaud them on the use of the education they have been given, and the respect they have shown their community and to the school. I hope that there is a lesson learned by all administrators in this type of position.

        May 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm |
      • Keith

        Sue – You are the kind of Parent I liked when I taught school and Leila; you are the kind of teacher that made everyone else miserable.

        May 23, 2012 at 8:29 pm |
  84. EmbarrasedinWestMI

    The principall way over-reacted to a harmless bike ride to school. No student needs permission to bike ride from their home to school. The principal was voice was taped via cellphone & her tyrant was abusive. I am glad my child does not attend Kenowa Hills Public School, or I would of been at the school board meeting airing my views. Senior Class of 2012, KHPS, I appauled you for thinking of a healthy acitivity ! Actually, May is RIDE YOUR BIKE MONTH. Maybe Ms. P may want to look that up? Many schools around the U.S.A. took part in this activity. The students were being escorted by a police car with their lights on. Now I understand why parents decide to homeschool their children.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:16 pm |
  85. mk045

    And to clarify, it's a serious distortion of the word to even characterize this as a "prank". I'll chalk it up to making a catchy headline to pull readers to the story. But if the headline were "School Principal Overreacts to Otherwise Non-Issue", well, we have far too many of those already, and nobody would read it. It would get pushed back to Page 14 next to "Mrs. Smith's Cat Gets Caught in Tree Again".

    May 23, 2012 at 1:12 pm |
  86. Trina

    These kids should be held up as the standard for senior week creativity! They did something creative, unusual and fun that had the support of parents and they went to lengths to make sure it was safe!! They should be applauded!

    May 23, 2012 at 1:11 pm |
  87. Trina

    This was in no way malicious. This was a senior "event". I wish more kids could come up with benign ideas that are a lot of fun!! The principle was completely wrong!

    May 23, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
  88. Jay

    zero-tolerance is never a good policy. Never. Think back to any story you've ever heard about something outrageous or idiotic coming from a school administrator, and the go to response is always "we have a zero-tolerance policy".

    May 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  89. mk045

    This is two separate problems that just happen to overlap in this case:

    1) Yet another example of a school administrator using a broad, zero-tolerance policy to abdicate any sense of leadership or responsibility. It's foolish, hurts her own credibility and authority, and actively opposes things that schools claim to (and should) promote – fitness and a sense of community. Frankly, she was probably cranky because they told the Mayor but not her.

    2) It baffles me why so many school prohibit children from biking to school. Saying it is a safety issue is a feeble excuse. Most states have 25 or even 15mph speed limits near schools, sidewalks, crosswalks, etc. I live in a subdivision like many, and my kids school is less than 5 minutes our house by bike. Our district could save 10's or even 100's of thousands on bus driver wages, bus maintenance, and fuel by simply allowing kids to walk or bike to school.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
    • You're kidding right?

      Really? The district could save money if they allowed kids to ride their bikes or walk to school? Districts do not make kids ride the bus to school. It's a service that districts provide to parents. You need to do a little more research before you make a statement like that – if you want to be taken seriously.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
      • mk045

        Our district prohibits students from riding a bike to school or walking to school unless accompanied by a parent. No research required.

        August 30, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  90. James

    Being a school principal, this was harmless. The principal is in a bad spot created by the board for having a zero tolerance policy. She was probably in trouble by some members if she didn't follow policy and darned by those who didn't think it was a big deal. The question would be if the action was truly a prank. Doesn't appear to be, but I'm on the outside looking in. The farther away you are the from the problem, the easier the solution appears to be. I have that posted in my office.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm |
    • Keith

      It is still her responsibility to interrupt the policy; she didn't have to call it a prank.

      May 23, 2012 at 8:31 pm |
    • Nate

      Actually, the president of the school board had son who was a senior and participated in the event. To cite wzzm13.com, "My son is a senior," said Frank Hammond, the school board president. "He was on the bike ride." I don't think she would have been under pressure to punish this, since the board members were obviously knowledgeable of the event. She is in her first year as principal of the school, so I guess she wanted to put her foot down to make an impression on her students.

      May 23, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • You're kidding right?

      Excellent post.

      May 24, 2012 at 8:36 pm |
  91. pac

    Is cycling illegal in that area? Was the ride on the Interstate of state / county roads? NO.
    What is the Principle thinking... police escorted, parent approved, not destructive... just delayed traffic that inconvenienced her and some of her staff!
    Principle should be asked to resign, or given a couple days off without pay!
    That ride was a positive thing! Seeing those young adults called out as a negative thing. If I was a parent that school board would be getting some serios questions as to the districts priorities.

    May 23, 2012 at 1:02 pm |
  92. www.sonicrocks.com

    The school has a zero-tolerance policy – this is the problem, policy gets in the way of common sense.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  93. palintwit

    Sarah Palin needs to weigh in on this. It is clearly one of those times when we need her advice.

    May 23, 2012 at 12:51 pm |
    • crookedarm

      Now that's funny!

      May 23, 2012 at 1:17 pm |
    • Witless

      Go back under your duuuhhh rock and hail your loser leader....wink...wink

      May 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |