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Free The Banana Man': Autistic HS Student Handcuffed, Suspended After Football Game Stunt


An autistic 14-year-old student was handcuffed, put in a police car, and suspended 10 days from school for charging the field during halftime of a high school football game in a banana suit. MyFoxDC has video of young Brian Thompson pulling off the prank:

While Thompson was apprehended, he was not officially taken into custody. And now his mother, Tavia, is puzzled as to why Colonial Forge High School would suspend Thompson for 10 days:

"Thompson says it was a harmless prank. He was trying to be funny and entertaining. His mother says the school's principal thought he was creating mayhem."

Students wore "Free The Banana Man" t-shirts at school Monday that they say were confiscated. They further alleged that those who wore them were ordered to attend school on Saturday as punishment.

A spokeswoman for Stafford County schools told MyFoxDC that they don't comment on individual student's actions or discipline arising from those actions. The spokesman did indicate that there is an appeals process for all discipline recommendations.

The incident has caught the attention of some who think the police and school overreacted. The website Gawker called it a "harmless stunt" and gave treated it with heavy sarcasm:

Yes, at least Thompson—an autistic teenager with musical talent and a playful sense of humor—wasn't incarcerated for his totally innocent prank that made people laugh. That's where we are nowadays, America—being glad when kids avoid being arrested for doing absolutely nothing wrong at all.

Apparently the wise officials at Colonial Forge High School, where Thompson is a student, believe that running in a banana suit is disruptive and can lead to "mayhem." Although this video footage doesn't show any of the adolescent spectators in the stands declaring a revolution, taking hostages, or burning down the stadium in response to Thompson's prank, it also doesn't show what they were thinking about (forming a flash mob).

The New York Daily News reports:

Brian Thompson said he plans on protesting the school's decision.

"Tomorrow I plan on going to school with a sign that says 'Free Banana Man' and another sign that says 'Banana Man needs his education too,'" he promised.

What do you think?

Banana Man

(H/T: Gawker)

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