Southwest High School student transferred over "teabagging" incident

Categories: Education
Thumbnail image for Teabag2_wikimedia.jpg
Wikipedia
Pictured: A slightly less disgusting teabag.
A Minneapolis high school student admits to taking part in a wrestling match that led to one of his baseball teammates getting "teabagged."

But, he says, he wasn't the teabagger, nor did he plan the teabagging, and he shouldn't be kicked out of school for it. Last week a U.S. District Court judge disagreed, rejecting the teenagers' parents' request to keep him in school until the resolution of a lawsuit they filed against the Minneapolis School District.

In the lawsuit, filed in May, Donald Kaplan and Thea Nelson argued that their son, a junior at Southwest High School, was being unfairly punished, considering he was only holding another boy down and hadn't known the teabagging was coming. Besides, they claimed, everybody on the baseball team was doing it.

In late March, the student, 16, was one of 24 Southwest High School baseball players who took a trip to Florida. One night, the complaint argues, the players were sent to their rooms without supervision.

And, as everyone knows, boys will be boys, so some boys put their balls in other boys' faces.

In one roughhousing incident, their son, identified as "JK," wrestled another boy and pinned him to the ground. At that point, their son looked up to see a third player "expose his genitalia above [the boy's] head," according to the complaint. "JK does not know whether [the teabagger] actually touched [the teabagged] or if he simply came close to doing so."

Ah ha! So this might have only been a near-teabagging, which is hardly criminal, and goes on unpunished on Metro Transit buses several times a day.

Surely, what follows is the complaint's greatest revelation: That, even if a little teabagging went on, it was not out of the ordinary.

"On at least three other occasions following the incident described above, similar behavior was engaged in by other members of the team. One one occasion, JK was subjected to this behavior. On another occasion [the teabagged], the alleged victim, subjected another student to this behavior."
The teabaggers were also teabagged themselves? Teabags for everyone! How's that for a "team-building" experience?
southwest high school.jpg
Southwest High School, home of the teabagging baseball players.

The incident seems to have caused great upset to Southwest High School principal Bill Smith. Smith, who also made the trip to Florida, had the boy called in to his office about a month after the trip. He attempted to confront the student about what had happened, but, flustered, was unable to put the incident to words -- apparently for some people, "teabag" is still a noun. 

"We are not talking about blowjobs here," Smith allegedly said to the student, according to the complaint. "Nobody was butt raped."

Finally, the boy figured out what was being discussed, and tried to plead his case. Days later, his father took up the defense, saying that teabagging happened on several occasions during this trip, and his son's was not an isolated incident. Again, Principal Smith reacted in the extreme.

patrick schiltz.jpg
Judge Patrick Schiltz rejected the parents' attempt to stop the transfer.
"Give me names,"  Smith said, according to the complaint. "I'll expel the whole  team. I'll expel 1700 students if I have to."

The boy avoided expulsion, but was instead sentenced to a forced transfer out of the school. Finally, the parents took their case to court.

The gist of the parents' suit is that their son, 16, shouldn't have to transfer out of a good school. Southwest High School was named the best high school in Minnesota by Newsweek magazine and has a graduation rate of 98 percent, according to the parents' complaint.

The boy in question is, according to the complaint, an Honor Roll student who sings in the choir and was on the Math Team.

The lawsuit will carry on, but District Court Judge Patrick Schiltz ruled last week that the parents had not proved enough potential injury for a temporary injunction against the transfer. Among the arguments Schiltz rejected was that it would harm the teenager's reputation. It wouldn't Schiltz wrote, because a future transcript would simply show that the boy had transferred from one school to another.

"Thus, there is no evidence in the record to show that in transferring J.K., the District will communicate any stigmatizing information that will harm J.K.'s reputation," Schiltz wrote, according to the Courthouse  News Service.

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18 comments
WhoisCeelo
WhoisCeelo

Go Minneapolis! Southwest is also WHITE and RICH, so move along now...

kat
kat

WOW.  Uummm...this one is going to be long, so if you're not that bored, skip it.

A few things I would like to point out:

Firstly, if this is the best school in Minnesota, I have to wonder what the worst school in Minnesota is like.

Secondly, WHAT IS WRONG WITH THESE PARENTS!!??  From what I understand from the above article, the parents' argument is that their kid was just holding the victim down, and everyone was doing it so it isn't a big deal.  So it's ok for your kid to be a mindless bully, and future sexual predator because everyone is doing it?  HUH?!

Thirdly, why is the school not being held accountable for the lack of supervision, and permitted and apparently sanctioned bullying (which by the way kids, has become a federal offense)?  And it was noted in the article that the SCHOOL PRINCIPLE was on that same trip where this apparently happened several times.  HOW CAN YOU MISS THAT YOU DUMBASS!!??

This just supports what I've been thinking:  the schools and the media are mostly responsible for the stupidity of our youth.  The schools because they seem to be dropping the ball when it comes to protecting the children that attend - mentally, physically and emotionally.  Now I'm not saying coddle them and treat them as though they'll break.  I'm simply saying, step up the no tolerance policies.

As I said, the media shares in that blame.  I'm not necessarily directing that comment toward stations such as news outlets; I'm mainly directing that comment at "entertainment television."  These stations are putting absolute crap on the air and calling it "reality tv and good viewing", then tauting themselves as socially responsible media outlets while giving us crap like Jersey Shore, Bad Girls Club, and now Russian Dolls.  It's crap like this that teaches kids that the can act like douches and jackasses, and they'll not only get rewarded for it, they might actually even get paid for it on top of becoming a celebrity.  Again I say HUH?!

The remaining blame can be tossed on the parents.  And I direct that comment to parents that seem to think that bullying like that is no big deal because everyone is doing it.  Or the parents who seem to think that their kid getting transferred is more damaging that the kid who got held down and essentially assaulted.

spamgaard
spamgaard

It's great to hear that kids are getting into politics at an early age...

Endgamexix
Endgamexix

Hey what's wrong with a little teabagging it will make a man of ya Laker style.....If you think the baseball team is wild you should talk to the soccer lads lots of butt slapping with those lads

Michelle Bachmann
Michelle Bachmann

There is one asshole in the story and its the kid suing his friends and teammates.   I have no problem with a kid suing if he didn't bully and he didn't want to be bullied.   Then that is harassment and its wrong.   But the asshole(alleged victim)  suing in this case also tea bagged other kids.   If you can't take the teabag stay the fuck out of the locker room.  

Jen
Jen

I haven't seen anything like this on any bus that I've ridden on.  Why drag the busses down alongside immature teenage male behavior?

Bill Crosby
Bill Crosby

"In the lawsuit, filed in May, Donald Kaplan and Thea Nelson argued that their son, a junior at Southwest High School, was being unfairly punished, considering he was only holding another boy down and hadn't known the teabagging was coming. Besides, they claimed, everybody on the baseball team was doing it."

Oh good, they're teaching him the, "I didn't do anything wrong, I just pinned someone down so stuff could be done to them against their will" defense, as well is the "if people are jumping off of a bridge, you should go see what all the hype is about" mentality. At least with parents like that on his side he will never do anything stupid again.

Jepetto
Jepetto

Well so much for people not knowing, anyone transferring schools in the next month or two will be scrutinized as soon as word of this gets out. And lets face it here, these Are SW High School students after all, and with such a high graduation rate are bound to let this slip. It's known to happen. 

All in all, the principal overreacted; way to be able to stand up like a man and deal with the problem before you. Personally, I think he was just pissed this "slipped under his nose".  I think the school staff in charge of this should have At Least taken the team, as a whole, and sat them down and discussed what the team did wrong with them. Blowing it out of proportion, taking it to court, and making some poor boy on the team be the scapegoat for the whole situation. Not Okay. Grow up people, start acting like adults and use those brains that got you to where you are today. Unless of course it was purely your temperament that got you there, brains aside. Then you're just all around excluded.And as for the 1st comment above: I see how you're trying to get people to think more openly and with fluidity. But I have to agree, there has to be some dividing line as to where the joke ends and the situation is seen in its' entirety.

Andy Johnson
Andy Johnson

I've become incredibly disappointed with City Pages' reporting over the past few weeks. In what seems like a forced, AV Club attempt at a lighthearted take on news, articles on this website have shifted from interesting perspectives on stories that often times aren't published through other news outlets to sarcastic jabs at real events. This article is the perfect example of that, not understanding whether it wants to address a relatively serious situation from a news angle or a joke angle. 

Honestly, I don't mind lighthearted takes on news. I'm an avid reader of the AV Club for that very reason. I just want City Pages to decide which avenue it's going to take.

Jackstraw
Jackstraw

Southwest is the "Best School in Minnesota" according to Newsweek -- the magazine whose circulation dropped so far that the corporation was sold for $1. Newsweek has become a running joke.  Why not ask Hustler to rank Minnesota High Schools?  (At least you'll know what the criteria are...)

Jeremy B
Jeremy B

I'm asking the same question: on which bus does this happen? I'm obviously riding the wrong one.

Bill Crosby
Bill Crosby

"I was just holding this other kid down, and it didn't dawn on me, an honor student, what was about to happen when someone pulled their junk out."

If the parents honestly believe that...god help us

Trevor Ludwig
Trevor Ludwig

over reacted?  really?  I get the whole boys-will-be-boys take on this, I do.  I was in high school sports, but you could argue this as sexual assault and assault, and potentially kidnapping or unlawful detainment.  The kid is lucky to just get transferred.

Think about it.  if someone held you down so another person could put their genitalia on your face in front of others...how funny would that be?  I think the situation is being handled by adults, as adults.  It would be childish, and stupid if they laughed about it and let the kid go without any form of reprimand, or if they threw him in prison for sexual assault and forced him to register as a sexual offender.  They have his best interests in mind, while still teaching him a lesson.

vitajex
vitajex

I don't know why you feel the two need to be mutually exclusive.  BTW, I'm not aware of the AV Club addressing any news issues outside of entertainment/media topics.

This is a blog about the news- not the news and there is a big difference there.  Blogs are allowed to inject humor and personal views.  Besides, there are still plenty of "original"/"small" stories being published.  And the print edition has ALWAYS been where the "real" or "hard" news stories show up.

I personally enjoy Mike's contributions to this website.

jww
jww

Even though I tend to agree...this is the "blog" area. 

minblottermod
minblottermod

In response to both, let me just say a few times I've been seated on a crowded bus and a gentleman has been standing next to me in such a way that... well, I prayed for no sharp turns.

Jepetto
Jepetto

The thing was, he wasn't the Only one, the entire team was in on it, and just because he won't break and snitch out his teammates (that's honorable in my eyes) he's made into an example. Besides, read above, if they forced the kid to go through Anything you suggested, it defeats the purpose of what they were trying to do: Make the kid an example without slandering his name. Think about it, The principal flew off the wall, and the judge had to pick up where the principal left off. Read again, he was ready to expel the entire school for an isolated incident. I think the judge did a decent job for what was thrown upon him, I'm not arguing that, but as for the principal(don't worry, I'm purposely leaving it uncapitalized in his case), I won't give him any leeway in the justification of his actions. 

Personally I have had such an incident happen once before while on a benchpress. I couldn't move while holding up 200+ lbs, so afterward I gave the kid a good welt on his arm for it, and that was the end of it. We were even then, and we moved on. It's gross all around, no one is arguing that, but the idea of a scapegoat is pathetic. Did you even read my post or did you just skim it? The team as a whole should have been punished not One of the Many kids doing this.

Jepetto
Jepetto

Well, honorable in the most dishonorable way. Still, take the team aside and teach them a lesson, if they're going to work together they need to fix their problems together.

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