High School Senior Won’t Be Banned from Graduation for Yearbook Chemistry Joke After All

but can you make a bomb from them?Mundy’s Mill High School senior Paris Gray
of Clayton County, Georgia, will be graduating after all. Gray

received an in-school suspension and was barred
from a “senior
walk” after administrators figured out that a list of chemical
elements she included in her yearbook blurb translated (by their
periodical symbols) to “BaCK ThAt AsS UP,” a reference to a 1998
song by the artist Juvenile. She said an assistant principal told
her she would not be allowed to give a previously scheduled speech
at graduation because of the yearbook comments.

Gray also pointed out no editors or administrators flagged the
comment ahead of time. It shouldn’t have taken any educator more
than a few seconds of googling to figure out what the line “When
the going gets tough, just remember to Barium, Carbon,
Potassium, Thorium, Astatine, Arsenic, Sulfur, Utranium,
Phospheros” meant, typos notwithstanding. Using the periodic table
to spell a message out isn’t quite “Whiskey Tango
Foxtrot
” but neither is it Navajo.

Gray’s story
got a lot of media attention
and now the school is, uh, backing
up, saying that the threat of Gray being punished by limiting her
participation at graduation was a miscommunication and that

she’d be allowed
to give her graduation speech after all.
Perhaps the school only ever intended to give her an “in-school
suspension” and bar her from a single senior event. It could also
be that the attention given to the school’s overreaction to an
obscure reference that included a minor profanity forced
administrators to think twice about what they were doing.

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