Another offfensive T Shirt

  1. The discipline of this kid by the school seems a bit overboard to me. Bad idea on his part, but he was just trying to defend himself, IMO. Wondering what you all thought? There is a poll included in the body of the story if you click the link.

    Suburban Student Suspended For Wearing Sept. 11 Shirt
    Mother Disagrees With School's Decision

    POSTED: 3:24 p.m. CST March 2, 2003

    CHICAGO RIDGE, Ill. -- An eighth grader has been suspended from school for wearing a T-shirt with a picture of two towers, an airplane and a man wearing traditional Arab headdress.

    Do you think student should be suspended because of shirt showing Sept. 11 references?

    Officials at Finley Junior High School in Chicago Ridge, a suburb west of Chicago, told Ian Itani's mother in a letter that the decision by the 14-year-old to wear the T-shirt "could be taken as a promotion of terrorism."

    Colleen Itani said her son, whose father is of Lebanese descent, wasn't promoting terrorism. She said her son was simply trying to send a message that not all Arabs are responsible for the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

    Ian Itani was suspended Feb. 19. Chicago Ridge School District 127 Superintendent Bernard Jumbeck declined to comment on the suspension, citing student privacy policies.

    The boy got the idea to wear the hand-drawn T-shirt after listening to jeers from his classmates after the terrorist attacks, his mother said. He used a black marker to draw two skyscrapers and an airplane on the front of the T-shirt, and on the back he drew the bearded face of a man wearing a headdress.

    "Everywhere I go people call us camels because of what happened," Ian Itani said. "So I put (the drawing) on my shirt to tell them who did it and to say that me and my Arab friends didn't do it."

    Colleen Itani said she saw her son drawing the images and warned him against wearing the shirt. When he walked into the school gym, the teacher told him the shirt was unacceptable and sent him to the principal, who suspended him.

    The principal also told him he would not be allowed to participate in onstage graduation ceremonies scheduled for June 6, his mother said.

    The Itanis say they are considering suing the school for violating the boy's right to free speech and for misinterpreting the T-shirt's intended message.
  2. 16 Comments

  3. by   Q.
    Crappy T-shirt, in my opinion. Again, I stand by the fact that such "protests" should be done outside of school. We couldn't wear such things to work could we? No. So why should school (essentially a kid's equivalent to adult's work) allow that? We would instead gather up some other Lebenese/Arab people or whatever and organize a march or demonstration on the city sidewalk to get our point across or known to the public.

    This kid should be given a warning to remove the shirt, the school should adopt such a policy that I stated above, reinstate him in school and be done with it.
  4. by   sbic56
    Yup, agree, Susy.
  5. by   emily_mom
    The schools in our area suspend when an offensive, graphic, or otherwise inappropriate shirt is worn.

    I don't understand by depicting the events on a shirt is showing that his family is innocent....??? He said this prompted him b/c of jeers after the terrorist attacks? Why not do it a long time ago? Why now?

    What message are the parents sending?
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I have to agree with Suzy 100%. It's inappropriate and inflammatory. Would NOT let my kid wear such things.
  7. by   sbic56
    There is too much room for misconstruing the message this boy wanted to get across. Obviously, he was sick of being a target of racism and thought that if he made it clear who the true terrorist was, he'd be left alone. It is sad that he was even further alienated by being suspended. It was a sticky situation that was poorly handled, IMO.
  8. by   SharonH, RN
    I feel bad for that kid. Obviously, he chose the wrong way to make his statement but I think the school is overreacting and punishing him too harshly especially in light of his explanation. I wonder if they have addressed the behavior he has experienced at all? I doubt it.
  9. by   Asiancutie
    Agree with Susy.
  10. by   emily_mom
    Everyone has a reason....doesn't make it right.

    If he wanted to make a statement, he should have honored the victims.
  11. by   Q.
    Originally posted by SharonMH31
    I wonder if they have addressed the behavior he has experienced at all? I doubt it.
    Good point Sharon, except you have to wonder if they were made aware of the problem when it occurred. For this kid to draw and wear a shirt over a year later (going on two years) lends me to believe that either:
    1. He never voiced any concern and instead bottled it up
    2. His parents noticed this and did nothing or
    3. His parents noticed nothing or
    4. He thought now would be a good time to wear such a shirt because the wounds of 9/11 might be healed. Unfortunately, he found out they are not healed and won't be for some time.

    I also have to question his method for getting his message across. Clearly, his message was not received.
    Last edit by Susy K on Mar 3, '03
  12. by   Mkue
    The school could have asked him to wear the t-shirt inside out for the rest of the day, if the images could not be seen. I'm sure they made the best decision for their school.
  13. by   rncountry
    I'm not sure how the T-shirt could convey what the kid said it was intended to convey.
    Did the school overreact? I don't know if they did or not. I think they could have offered to have him turn it inside out, or go home and change first. However, I also think the T-shirt, to me anyway would be more of a promotion of terrorism than anything else.
    I would not for a second doubt that this kid reported what was going on in school and that nothing was done about it. Seen it happen to many times. And using the analogy of school/work that Suzy used, and I have used before at my kids school, if what was tolerated at a workplace what is tolerated in school in terms of harrassment of others the workplace had best get ready for a damn good lawsuit. Too many times schools ignore behavior that is incredibly painful for a student and then wonder why that kid does something stupid.
    Suzy, I dealt with this stuff once with my oldest child, I know what I am saying here. My son was being harrassed repeatedly by another kid, one who he had hung with for a brief period but I instintively knew was trouble and so had told my child no, you cannot be around this kid, ever. When he would no longer be with this kid the harrassment started. My child did what I told him, ignore it, leave him alone. And it got worse and worse. I spoke to the school prinicpal several times and got lots of nice platitudes but little of anything else. When this kid could not get mine to fight him he then proceeded to threaten my daughter, who was 13 years old at the time. This took place at her very first junior high dance and made a miserable time for her. She reported it to the chaparones and nothing was done at the dance. When she came home I knew something had happened and had to really press her to get the information as to what. My oldest child never said a word, but the look on his face said volumes. Come Monday morning and I got a phone call 10 minutes after school started I knew exactly what had happened. I was informed that my son had just beat the snot out of the boy who had harrassed him for about 9 months and then threatened his sister. I asked to speak to my son and all I asked was 1) are you hurt? 2) Did you win? The answer was no and yes. Told him I would be there in a few minutes to get him, and then told the school the same thing. My son was suspended for 5 days for this, the kid who deserved everything he had coming to him got 3, because he hadn't thrown the first punch. My comment to the Principal was 1) had you handled this to begin with we would not be here now 2) 5 days suspension? While deer season starts tomorrow, I guess he'll have plenty of time to go hunting this year. Pissed the Prinicpal right off with number 2. But then the next day was parent/teacher conferences and you would not believe how many teachers came up to me to tell me that they felt my son had done the only thing he could have done. His football coach and history teacher made a point of coming across the gym and shaking my hand and requested that I tell my son that as far as the teacher was concerned that the right action had taken place. I was told by no less than 6 teachers the same thing and all of them said specifically that if teachers could discipline problem children the way they should be allowed to none of this would have happened to begin with. Every teacher in that place knew exactly what was going on, and nothing was done about it because "kids will be kids" is what the idiot principal told me. And I told him that somewhere adults needed to act like adults!
    None of this excuses the T-shirt, particularly because all this young man did was buy himself more trouble and problems and his mother should have been bright enough to realize that.
  14. by   Mkue
    Helen, the school probably didn't overreact considering this day and age and international/domestic terrorism alerts, it was probably best to stop the behavior with a "no tolerance approach".

    Years ago if kids wore an inappropriate article of clothing, turning it inside out or asking them to go home and change would have been acceptable. "The times they are a changing." I think that is a Bob Dylan quote.