Educational Editorial: Banana Man

By Dr. Bill Bosher, NBC12 Educational Specialist

"Banana Man" is apparently still running.

While a Stafford County student was recently suspended for parading around the field during the halftime of a football game, apparently his few moments of adolescent fame have turned into an international odyssey of posted debates and commentaries.

The story is relatively simple: A Colonial Forge High School student whose mother has described him as mildly autistic decided to assume the persona of "Banana Man" and take advantage of the large audience at a football game. He is also alleged to have been disrespectful to an administrator who stopped his less than spontaneous exhibition.

The student was suspended for ten days, but then reinstated. The principal, who by the way was trying to provide safety and order at a football game, was nationally ridiculed and subsequently resigned.  He had been rolled under the bus of public pressure with the statement that mistakes had been made.

Prior to the lifting of Banana Man's suspension, and later reinstatement, students protested with shirts declaring that Banana Man should be freed.  School administrators declared that wearing the shirts was disruptive.

As with most public train wrecks, the ACLU rode into town, checked the wind, and declared that someone has been offended. Lessons abound from this made for TV saga, but for the moment, a couple of observations about Banana Man: When disabled young people are not taught discipline, we have truly handicapped them, and when the ACLU uses the media to resolve issues rather than the courts, there is very little hope for justice.

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