16-Year-Old Kicked Off Football Team For Writing Poem Critical Of Coach, Teammates, In Class Assignment
As poetry, Nick Andre's little piece here leaves a lot to be desired. There's no discernible iambic parameter, nothing rhymes, and the subtext is confusing. But a class assignment is a class assignment, and this was turned in on time, and seems to come from the heart. So I give it a C+.
But school officials at Rittman High (Akron, Ohio) were less pleased. Andre was suspended from school over his poem, and kicked off the football team, the latter which was the subject of the writing. Why, Rittman? How did the words of a 16-year-old, scribbled in a notebook, hurt you so?
As part of the class assignment, Andre read the poem in class and when the administration at Rittman High learned about the content, the principal concluded that Andre, “Wrote a mean and disrespectful poem about another student and our athletic director/head coach.” The principal classified the poem as “hazing, harassment.”
He was stunned when the school suspended him for four days, and removed him from the football team for the final two games of the season.
I can think of about a hundred ways to get kicked off the football team, and have personally tried about 40 of them. But poetry ain't on the list.
The composition class assignment was to "write about something that hurts you," and that's just what Andre did. No profanity: just the naked, horrible truth. Apparently Rittman's football team sucks, and the coach is clueless.
Well, that's what I read.
Here's the poem in its entirety. (Dons smoking jacket and pipe, reads it in front of the fireplace):
Non-stop passes from best friend to best friend.
Continuously doing what doesn’t work,
The inability to separate being a father and a coach,
But yet still the “super star”,
Where’s my scholarship?
I can drop passes,
And be afraid to take a hit.
That’s top of the line Div. 1 material right there.
If that’s what they wanted,
They definitely got it.
This whole town will be glad when he’s gone.
For anyone who doesn’t understand what I’m saying,
So Andre was suspended for four days and kicked off the team for getting the wrong people angry: a good life lesson, when you think about it.
Andre's mom said that, in a meeting with the Principal Nick Evans, the poem was referred to as "bullying", "hazing" and "harassment". Such BS. He was assigned to write a poem and he did it.
UPDATE: Poetic justice! Andre's suspension was reversed.
From The Northern Wayne Post:
According to a Post source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, Andre was back at school on Thursday, which means his suspension was cut short. The source also said Andre would be allowed back on the football team.
Rittman High School Principal Nick Evans’ office said all inquiries in the case should be forwarded to Superintendent Jon Ritchie. A message left for Ritchie was not immediately returned.
So apparently the school district got involved and told this reactionary principal to knock off the crap.
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