Saturday, June 21, 2008

NYC Student Suspended For Giving Teacher A Noogie

Sometimes I like to talk about the overkill American schools might go to in order to assert their control over their students. In this instance, I would probably say that it's probably not a good idea to give a teacher a noogie. Even if said noogie was authorized by her.

Besides she's an authority figure not some classmate you can do that to. She's a bit above being one of the peers. Students shouldn't forget that of course that's not to say that some authority figured haven't earned the respect they believe they're due. That or along the way they lose it anyway.

If you think back to high school, memories of "noogies" and spitballs probably aren't far behind. On Friday, one Long Island honors student and his father are speaking out after the freshman was suspended for 10 months – all because he allegedly gave his Spanish teacher a noogie.

Ethan Mirenberg, 14, remembers his Spanish teacher, Sharon Cantante, as being a "great teacher," even though he received the nearly year-long suspension for supposedly giving her a noogie.

"I'm dismayed," he told CBS station WCBS-TV in New York City. "You can't let people throw you under the bus."

The Lynbrook School District alleges Mirenberg, a football and lacrosse player, forcibly grabbed Cantante by the neck and continued to press his knuckles against her scalp despite her pleas to stop.

And they say it happened more than once, but Mirenberg said it didn't happen that way. Instead, he described it as a "pat on the head."

The Mirenbergs presented pictures of other students giving Cantante noogies, and she's even smiling in them. Bill Mirenberg, Ethan's father, said his son's friends back up the story.

"This teacher, Ms. Cantante, is well respected in our school. Ethan enjoyed her class, did well. I myself had a good relationship with her as the parent of a student," he said.

Bill added that his son's friends told him he didn't do what he's accused of.

The Mirenbergs' lawyer said the eighth grade Spanish teacher didn't mind getting noogies every once in a while and he wants his client's name cleared.

"I want Ethan's record expunged," the boy's father said.

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