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Arizona Principal Punishes Two High School Boys by Forcing Them to Hold Hands: VIDEO


Tim Richard, a high school principal in Arizona, punished two boys for fighting this week by forcing them to hold hands, ABC News reports:

Earlier this week, the two students at Westwood High School in Mesa, Ariz., who have not been named, were faced with the prospect of either suspension from school, or sitting in chairs in the high school’s courtyard and holding hands for 15 minutes during a lunch period. They opted for the latter.

“Kids were laughing at them and calling them names, asking, ‘Are you gay?’” student Brittney Smyers told ABC affiliate KNXV.

Teens at the high school inevitably posted photos of the two, who spent the time shielding their faces with their heads in their hands, to social media sites.

On the Facebook posting, users commented that the public punishment is not appropriate, as it positions the teens as targets for taunting and name-calling. Others suggested the punishment was anti-gay, as it implies two males holding hands is embarrassing.

The school district has denounced the principal's punishment.

Watch the ABC News report, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Are the comments defending this punishment being posted by the principal? The guys got in a fight. Big deal. So the principal tried to make them look like big homos for their crime, then allowed their peers to mock them. And you think that's appropriate?

    Ever heard of detention, suspension, or myriad other remedies that aren't suspiciously antigay? What is the point of forced hand holding?

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 1, 2012 1:31:55 AM

  2. It wouldn't be a big deal if this were routine punishment. And maybe it should be a routine punishment for fighting. The mockery of fellow students should be kept in line, however; although I do think the taunting itself would be reduced if this punishment more commonplace.

    Posted by: Mike B. | Dec 1, 2012 1:32:06 AM


    Posted by: ted baldwin | Dec 1, 2012 1:37:40 AM

  4. Read the story.

    Posted by: ted baldwin | Dec 1, 2012 1:38:33 AM

  5. Shows how repressed we are as a society. Obviously 'kiss and make up' can't be administered..but I think the Principal did just fine. The kids need to grow up.

    In Colonial times public humiliation was considered apt punishment for infractions and minor misdemeanors. Can't say that I fault that line of thinking... I'm sure both those boys will think twice or maybe even three times before fighting again..

    Posted by: cbhermey | Dec 1, 2012 1:39:08 AM

  6. So someone decides to speak out against an antigay act by calling it "retarded".

    FU @ StudioTodd and his fellow ignoramuses.

    As for the School District, they need to do more than denounce. They need to take an immediate employment action...suspension leading to due process and termination.

    Posted by: Fahd | Dec 1, 2012 1:44:39 AM

  7. I think it's pretty funny actually. What I especially like about this story are the laughing kids taunting them with gay comments. Everyone is so quick to say that young people today are so gay-friendly, then stories like this come along and contradict that notion.

    Posted by: Sabian | Dec 1, 2012 1:52:45 AM

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    Posted by: | Dec 1, 2012 2:36:30 AM

  9. What drugs are some of you taking? Yeah, great, let's go back to colonial times! Things were perfect then! And sure, let's encourage antigay mockery! What could be wrong with that?

    Oh wait, you're just idiots.

    Posted by: Paul R | Dec 1, 2012 7:10:26 AM

  10. Yes, I wondered about that bright pink shirt choice too......:)

    Posted by: David | Dec 1, 2012 7:28:18 AM

  11. This is bad punishment, through and through.

    What makes it particular egregious is the fact they were made to endure this awful idea in a very public way--in front of their peers, who the court knew would come down hard on them, just as they did. While I still would have disagreed, a far more appropriate idea would have been to have the boys do this in a private (but supervised) setting.

    Publicly shaming these two young guys simply gives everyone who knows them plenty of ammo to further taunt them, which in turn will inflame their own inner thoughts and feeling, that'll lead to who knows what level of what can be nothing but unwanted outcomes.

    Posted by: Michael | Dec 1, 2012 8:04:15 AM

  12. It's weird to me that in this nation the fighting part is "no big deal," but god forbid they hold hands in public. Oh my god, the shame of actually having to hold hands!

    They had a choice, suspension or holding hands. For 15 minutes. What's the big frickin' deal? This society is so backwards that it's shameful...

    Posted by: J L | Dec 1, 2012 8:29:49 AM

  13. I would have taken the suspension over this.

    Posted by: Tony | Dec 1, 2012 9:10:01 AM

  14. Sue the school? Seriously?

    First, the boys CHOSE THE PUNISHMENT. Read the story, as one of the earlier comments said. Second, if you were fighting with someone it would be very embarrassing to hold hands with that person, regardless of gender, orientation, etc. Sure, maybe the principal was motivated by the same "ewww, gay is so bad that's the ultimate punishment, mwahahaha" animus as the students engaged in mocking. But good luck getting inside his head and proving it. He can just say that public embarrassment is a common form of punishment, and holding hands with someone you don't like in front of students is embarrassing.

    What's the legal action going to be here? You can't say false imprisonment, because they chose it, it was 15 minutes, and suspensions of a much longer and more constrained type are commonly allowed. It's not infliction of emotional distress because being embarrassed is not enough, and the fact they chose the punishment undercuts the claim (if something is that distressing, why would you choose it?). No hate speech. No battery. No....anything, as far as I can see. If you find the principal guilty of who knows what in this case, you're opening the door to lawsuits every time kids feel embarrassed by a punishment and get teased.

    I hope the ACLU doesn't waste too much time, if any, on this.

    Posted by: Stefan | Dec 1, 2012 9:12:12 AM

  15. I'd like to know what they were being punished for. "If" it was for harassing others students, or taunting students with anti gay abuse, then this actually might be an appropriate punishment. Then they get some back from the rest of the student body and taught a lesson in ridicule and bullying and helplessness when faced with overwhelming odds.

    "If" it's punishment for something else and the "punishment" is the supposed embarrassment of being gay or assumed to be so, it's so out of line words barely begin to do it justice.

    I'd like to have the story fleshed out further so we actually know what was done and what was the intention of the principal. If they really wanted to punish them, whatever the offense, they should have forced them to eat the school food.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Dec 1, 2012 9:16:23 AM

  16. Or I could read properly..... Time for a second cup of coffee. Ridiculous punishment for fighting. Just shows how backwards Arizona is. If this was New York or California the two would be laughing at how easy they got off.

    Posted by: Michaelandfred | Dec 1, 2012 9:19:53 AM

  17. This is a great punishment! People need to use their brains and not their emotions on these posts!!!

    Posted by: Alan Brickman | Dec 1, 2012 9:45:59 AM

  18. This could and should have been handled differently. If the kids were gay or straight, lovers' quarrel or just fighting for some stupid reason. Taunting is bullying, this principal is a bully for putting them out in a public place. Shake hands and talk the issue out and be done with it! This show by the principal and the taunting will only reinforce disdain for homosexual persons, in my opinion.

    Posted by: bill miller | Dec 1, 2012 10:01:16 AM

  19. The "Principal" should be punished by being forced to stand in public, and be photographed, as trying to act like a "Human Being". Criminal charges should be brought against him or her.

    Posted by: Jim Brown | Dec 1, 2012 10:10:07 AM

  20. Essentially a contemporary version of the stocks. They were savvy enough to hide their faces in the age of Facebook and Twitter. Legally this is somewhat like a plea bargain, though being underage a lawyer could argue they could not understand the full implications of their decision.

    Posted by: anon | Dec 1, 2012 10:50:41 AM

  21. Much ado about nothing........keep it in context.

    Posted by: Chaszle | Dec 1, 2012 11:26:53 AM

  22. I can't wait to see NOM jump on this. This is way worse than anything they've ever jumped on before. Only problem, this principal doesn't seem to be pro gay. Have fun guys.

    Posted by: NeverEclipsed81 | Dec 1, 2012 11:51:35 AM

  23. The fact about 40% of people here are defending this in any way is actually compelling me to punch my computer.

    It's not about the punishment itself which can be considered, potentially, as clever. Maybe. But no. When the intent is public embarrassment, then there is a severe problem. It's beyond clear the intent here was public shaming, using homosexuality as the device. That is sick and appalling.

    Posted by: Francis | Dec 1, 2012 12:45:47 PM

  24. Can you imagine how James Franco would have handled this? He would have leaned back with a big grin, blown a kiss or two at his in-hand partner, flashed his black eyes and laughed his head off. 'Nuff said.

    Posted by: UFFDA | Dec 1, 2012 12:50:09 PM

  25. Sick. Just kidding! Their parents will go bat sh#@ crazy with the school, end up on the news and announce they plan to sue everyone, including the janitors.

    Posted by: M. Scott Hernandez | Dec 1, 2012 3:10:25 PM

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