“Littering,” “creating a disturbance,” and “malicious wounding.” That’s what a group of light-hearted high schoolers are being charged with after they dressed up in wacky Christmas sweaters and distributed candy canes at school:
They call themselves the “Christmas Sweater Club” because they wear the craziest ones they can find. But they also sing Christmas songs at school and try their best to spread Christmas cheer.
But now all 10 of them are in trouble because of what they did at their school, Battlefield High School.
“They said we were maliciously wounding other kids. But nobody intentionally tried to do that, or did,” said Zakk Rhine, a junior at Battlefield.
The boys say they were just tossing small two-inch candy canes to fellow students as they entered school. The ones that are in plastic wrap and are so small they often break apart.
Skylar Torbett, also a junior, said administrators told him, “The candy canes could be used as weapons by sucking on them and making them have sharp points.” He said neither he nor any of their friend did that.
Next thing they knew, they were all being punished with detention and at least two hours of cleaning. Their disciplinary notices say nothing about malicious wounding, but about littering and creating a disturbance.
“It was 7 a.m. in the morning, when kids were coming to school. So I can’t see how we’d be creating a disturbance,” said Cameron Gleason, also a junior.
The Principal Amy Etheridge-Conti says she can’t comment on the students’ discipline, but did say there was lot more to it than handing out candy and that the discipline was warranted.
The boys admitted that their incident may have cause litter since some kids dropped their candy canes on the floor. But Cameron Gleason said he spent an hour cleaning up the dropped candy.
The boys’ parents think the school went overboard and that maybe administrators were trying to stop their boys from spreading Christmas cheer.
Mother Kathleen Flannery said a administrator called her and explained that, “not everyone wants Christmas cheer. That suicide rates are up over Christmas, and that they should keep their cheer to themselves, perhaps.”