Border Patrol T-shirts warrant punishment at Dakota Ridge High, "F*ck America" signs don't?
Was Dakota Ridge High School student Bryce Benson punished for wearing a T-shirt that read "Border Patrol" while others who staged a mock-demonstration featuring signs that read "Fuck America" weren't -- or at least not initially? Ex-Congressman and recent gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo's not sure of all the particulars, but he senses the ripe aroma of political correctness.
Big pic below.
"We are fighting a major battle in this country over borders," says Tancredo, who spoke about the issue at a Jefferson County School District meeting last night, "and that battle has a lot of different dimensions to it -- but it's very political. And the school district is very political, and very liberal -- and so these kids pay a price for that."
The Border Patrol T-shirt issue first came to the fore last month in the Dakota Ridge student newspaper, The Ridge Review. An article headlined "Who We Be?" noted that "last Friday, September 2nd, several boys wore T-shirts that read 'Border Patrol.'"
The problem? The shirts were perceived by some as insulting to Latino members of the school population. Said one student: "This is an embarrassment to the school. We are a school with ethnic diversity, and the fact that a few in the student body would go out and alienate part of our school and the rival's school populace is disgusting."
The Ridge Review piece reports that the T-shirt wearers made "four trips to the office" over their clothing choice and received "a stern talking-to from the cops at the game." However, they were "allowed to wear the shirts in school and to the game."
But there are at least two more variations on this story. A version subsequently shared by KHOW's Peter Boyles and the website AboveTopSecret.com went something like this: Students wearing the T-shirts were prevented from riding a school bus to a football game in Pueblo due to their attire; they had to find their own transportation for the very long ride. And the next week, AboveTopSecret.com maintains, one of the students -- Bryce Benson -- was suspended for three days, apparently for his choice in clothing.
Oh, yeah: Around this time, another student staged a mock-demonstration on school grounds as part of a film project. It included signs emblazoned with the slogan "Fuck America." However, that student wasn't disciplined until after the brouhaha erupted concerning the Border Patrol T-shirts.
A photo of students wearing the T-shirts posted by KHOW (click to enlarge).
Dakota Ridge High School principal James Jelinek's take? He doesn't address the "Fuck America" signs in a letter to parents dated today and on view in its entirety below. But he details the Border Patrol incident, insisting that the student in question was told he couldn't ride the bus because he was harassing a male cheerleader. Then, he goes on, the mother of a Bryce friend made such a big stink while insisting that the T-shirt was the real issue he'd been banned from the bus that she and her son had to be escorted from the campus by school district and Jefferson County Sheriff's Office personnel. Moreover, Jelinek accuses the T-shirt wearing student and his mom (neither Benson nor his mother, Regan, are specifically named) of presenting lies about what happened, resulting in "restrictions and consequences for both of them."
Into this chaotic environment steps Tom Tancredo.