Hateful Halloween Costume
Well, if you thought the high school kids with Hitler quotes in their yearbook annoyed me, check out this lovable high schooler:
A student at a Brooklyn high school named for a prominent Jewish educator faced a blitzkrieg of trouble yesterday when he arrived dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween.The kid was pulled out of class, and when he refused to remove the costume, he was forced to sit out the rest of the school day in the office. His parents, who are of Jewish origin, defended his right to don the costume under his First Amendment rights:
His mother and stepfather, who is Jewish and lost ancestors in the Nazi genocide, defended Petryk's stance. They rebuffed pleas by the dean to advise their son to remove the costume so he could return to class.Yeah, I'd say that his mother has a pretty good grasp as to the far-reaching evil of Hitler's policies, and that comparing them to detaining a student in the principal's office is a fair analogy.
"This is a matter of artistic free expression and a school not being stupid," said his mother, Diane Petryk- Bloom, who picked her son up at school. "[The dean is] offended by a parody of Hitler - and he's acting like Hitler."
The school defends their actions:
City Department of Education spokesman Keith Kalb said school administrators "followed appropriate procedures" after receiving "several complaints from offended students and staff."I'd say the student was clearly aiming to offend - as is seen by the adjustments he made to the costume on the ride to school:
The department's discipline code states that students who wear clothing deemed disruptive to the educational process may be removed from class.
Petryk said he didn't set out to push the envelope as Hitler. But he acknowledged that he made a decision to disguise himself as Charlie Chaplin with a bowler hat and cane on his way to school to avoid ruffling feathers on the street.But hey, wear the getup to school? Why the heck not, right?
"I wasn't going to get on the subway in a Hitler costume," Petryk said.
Petryk followed up by donning the costume for a press conference today in front of his school where he again invoked his right as an American to act like an absolute jerk:
The junior honors student dressed again as the fascist butcher outside the Sheepshead Bay school yesterday for a gaggle of reporters, and dismissed the prospect of suspension - as well as the ridicule of onlookers.Heh heh. Funny. And thanks for the reassurance, pal.
"I'm not worried about it that much," said Petryk, whose mother delivered the costume to him yesterday and stood by his side.
"I'm not a Nazi. It's a Halloween costume," he declared. "People have taken it too seriously . . . I'm not going to go around and kill Jews or anything."
The ADL chimed in, of course:
The Anti-Defamation League and the American Jewish Committee likened the costume to a Ku Klux Klan hood, saying it represented unprotected hate speech.I agree completely. I would not in the least be amused by a student showing up in a KKK gown and hood. I would be shocked and appalled at the insensitivity of such an act, and would view it as one that is deliberately inciteful - as I do for this one. Petryk may have been well within his rights of freedom of expression, but he was well over the lines of good taste and responsible citizenry.
"This is not an innocent First Amendment advocacy," said Abraham Foxman, director of the ADL. "He knew this outfit would offend and hurt and maybe even incite by the fact that he didn't wear it on the subway."