The Island of Misfit Toys

April 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm Leave a comment

This post was originally posted on kyriosblog.com.

I read a lot of material on the internet. Lately, I’ve been doing a lot of reading about Glee, the Fox musical comedy TV-series about a high school glee club in a Midwestern small town. After a hiatus, it’s coming back to finish its first season. I loved the show the first time I saw it and watched several episodes back to back on Hulu.

Basically, the premise of the show involves a small handful of five or six ragtag kids who form a glee club with the help of their sponsor, Spanish teacher Will Schuester. Mr. Schuester was a member of an award winning show choir at the very same high school years ago when he was a student himself. A rival teacher, the head coach of the cheerleading squad, Sue Sylvester, provides a nemesis for Will and his glee club kids. The glee club includes among its members:

  • an obnoxiously ambitious Jewish Broadway protégé
  • a large black diva with the voice of Aretha Franklin
  • an achingly shy punk rock Asian girl
  • a gay boy fashionista who sings soprano every bit as well as the Broadway belter of the group
  • a disabled boy in a wheel chair who plays electric guitar like Frampton

The show is excellent, and it’s a hit. If you haven’t seen it yet, then I suggest you check it out. One criticism of the show has been in its use of stock characters and stereotypes. However, when the genre is satire, as it is with this series, and the setting is high school, I see no way to avoid clichés. The cheerleaders and the jocks are the “normal,” popular kids. Everyone else belongs, according to Sue Sylvester, on the island of misfit toys.

This brings me to the second issue that has been occupying my time on the internet. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the case of Constance McMillen and the ACLU against the Itawamba School District in Mississippi. If you haven’t heard of the case, Constance McMillen is a young lesbian who wanted to be allowed to attend her senior prom with a same sex date and to be able to wear a tuxedo rather than a dress.

The school board denied her request. She took her cause to the American Civil Liberties Union. The ACLU sued the school on behalf of Constance. The court ruled that Constance should be allowed to attend the prom with the date of her choice, and the school district responded by cancelling the prom. The school said that they hoped that some parents or a private organization might fund an alternative prom but that there would not be an official prom.

What happened next? You guessed it. Students at Itawamba Agricultural High School, instead of banding together in support of their classmate, bullied and ridiculed her and blamed her for “ruining” their senior year. I found a letter on a website, written by one of Constance’s classmates, where the girl claims that there is no prejudice against Constance for being a lesbian. The claim of the student’s letter boils down to the fact that Constance, in asking to be afforded certain civil liberties, is a nuisance and a strident harpy who is ruining the senior year of every “normal” kid at Itawamba Agricultural High School.

Parents and school officials eventually colluded in sponsoring two proms. One was a privately organized “alternative” dance that virtually the entire school population attended. The other was the “official” prom that Constance and her date were invited to attend along with five other students, two of whom were special needs kids. Thus, there was a segregated prom, one for the “cool” kids who were straight and “normal,” and another prom held on the island of misfit toys.

But really, I think, why stop there? The people of Itawamba should segregate the schools. There’s a precedent for this kind of behavior in Mississippi. This time around, instead of segregating students by race, let’s segregate students according to which high school clique to which they belong. Why let the weirdos ruin the high school experiences of normal kids in Itawamba, or anywhere, for that matter?

So, to that end, I would like to propose federally funded charter schools because, let’s face it, this sort of thing is a problem everywhere. Besides, little Itawamba doesn’t have the budget it requires to build special schools for all the possible fringe groups that need to be separated from the general population.

Kids could be bussed to boarding schools located in large metropolitan areas that are more tolerant of these sorts of differences. Sure, the kids would miss their parents and families, but I think we all have to conform for the good of American society.

This doesn’t have to be a hardship for the fringe kids. Think of it as separate and different, but equal. The schools could be named after cool celebrities and cater to the needs of the individual student. For instance:

  1. The Richard Simmons School for Freaks, Fatties, and LGBT Students. Special electives could include Sweatin’ to the Oldies, Deal-a-Meal and classes on How to Become a Convincing Drag Queen or How to Successfully Change Your Gender.
  2. The Corey Haim Memorial High School for Druggies. The infirmary could dispense clean needles, medical marijuana, and condoms for free. Electives could include such useful classes as Doctor Shopping, They Tried to Make Me Go to Rehab But I Said NO, NO, NO, and Surviving the American Penal System.
  3. The Judy Garland Memorial High School for the Performing Arts. This might be a really tough call for some of the gay guys or some of the fat chick fag hags who love them, between this school and the Richard Simmons School. Nevertheless, I think it’s important to have a school solely devoted to the Drama Fags and Choir Queers. Electives include Musical Theater, Show Choir, and Mastering Accents Like Meryl.
  4. The Stephen Hawking School for the Freakishly Smart and Physically Disabled. Classes could include offerings such as Quantum Physics and Wheelchair Maintenance and Learning the Ins and Outs of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  5. The Tyler Durden School for the Future Angry White Men of America. Sure, these guys could fit into the mainstream, but why not let them have have their own school as well? They are a dying breed, after all. Electives could include Affirmative Action My Ass, How to Pick Up Women, and Forming a Militia. Extra credit could be given for individual study into the collective works of Michael Douglas, Ted Nugent, Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck. Field trips could involve camping trips to the wilderness where the boys could beat on drums naked while reciting the poetry of Robert Bly.

Well, the idea is still in its infancy, and there would be lots of kinks to work out. If you’re interested in helping me to re-segregate the American school system by stereotype, feel free to comment on this post.

If, instead, you find this idea outrageous and offensive, if you think what was done to the seven students of Itawamba Agricultural High School is unconscionable, then I urge you to contact the Itawamba School District by email:

Superintendent Teresa McNeece: tmcneece@itawamba.k12.ms.us

Itawamba Agricultural High School Principal Trae Wiygul: twiygul@itawamba.k12.ms.us

Entry filed under: Current Events, Gay Rights, Politics. Tags: .

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