I enforce school rules. Even if the rule is one I myself wouldn't have made, I enforce the rules. Failure to enforce a rule breeds contempt for all the rules. If there's a rule you don't enforce, get rid of it.
Even when our school administration makes a rule that I think is silly or petty, I enforce the rule. I may not enforce it with a vengeance, but I'll tell the student that a rule is a rule and they need to correct whatever it is they're doing mucho pronto. Other teachers allow open violations of rules--personal music players in class, for instance--but I do not. Not enforcing rules undercuts the authority of our administrators, and since I don't ever want them to undercut my authority in front of students, I won't undercut theirs.
But the rule that came out today is so stupid, so lacking in logic, so ridiculous, that even I have to wonder if my own credibility as a thinking human would be diminished by enforcing this rule. It was published in our daily bulletin today: Due to their drug reference, shirts that display a snowman are not to be worn to school.
Did you catch that? Students cannot wear shirts with snowmen on them because someone has decided to make snowmen a drug reference. (Snowman, snow, cocaine--get it?)
Jokingly I note that the Christmas cartoon Frosty the Snowman, which can only be understood by someone under the influence of a hallucinogen, was made in 1969--the same year as Woodstock. See? It all ties together.
Of course, some students want to rebel and go buy snowman shirts and wear them tomorrow. I told them that if only a few of them, or even a few dozen of them, did that, all that would happen is they'd all get in trouble. No, if you want to protest a stupid rule, I said, you have to do it with intellect. Or satire. Or sarcasm, Or irony. Something that will make the makers of the rule embarrassed they ever created the rule in the first place.
Let's start with the obvious. The policy is that no shirt can have a snowman on it. Perhaps tomorrow snowmen should start popping up on pants, backpacks, caps, etc. Totally in compliance with the policy! Perhaps black armbands with snowmen on them with the saying, "Save Frosty". One student has already made me a sign that's hanging in my room. At the top it says "Say No to drugs", under that is a snowman, and under that is the "Save Frosty" statement that I so need to trademark.
Here's me at my most creative, though: Sell snow-cones on the quad at lunch and donate the proceeds to the Darfur refugees. Sell yummy frozen water to Save Frosty (tm), and help thirsty people in a desert in the process.
There's lots of snow in the mountains right now. Someone suggested that students should fill a pickup bed with snow and build a snowman in front of the main office. I like that idea, too.
Update, 3/3/06: Joanne Jacobs (see blogroll at left) links to this story and has an interesting idea of her own.