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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

King Philip High School backs off West Point ban


If one were a high school principal and two graduating seniors were chosen to attend West Point one would be pretty proud wouldn't one. Then realizing that the awards banquet was scheduled for the day after Memorial Day and the Army was sending officers to present the offers of acceptance one might be planning an appropriate ceremony. But not if one was in charge of King Philip High School in Wrentham, MA. No you would ban the military from showing up.

The academy, in recognition of appointees' hard work, has a tradition of officially offering acceptance at school banquets and graduations. But when West Point officials approached King Philip Principal Elaine Hanson, they were told it was against the school's policy, according to parents and public officials.

State Sen. Scott Brown (R-Wrentham), who is a major in the National Guard, said the high school only allows access to local groups that give scholarships, not academies or universities. "It just takes away from the accomplishments of the school, the teachers and the kids - and that's the sad part," Brown said. "To have two students accepted from the same class is unheard of. It's such an honor."


Only 100 students are accepted each year. To have two from one school is remarkable. But school policy is school policy and one cannot ever deviate form it because that would require purposeful decision making and that is way too much like leadership. It's somewhat like suspending a kid for drawing a picture of a gun because you have a zero tolerance policy against guns. Once again there is that school policy thing and one wouldn't want to use one's brain for something other than fertilizing one's hair.

All is not lost however. The principal and her cohorts have decided that it would be OK if the presentation were given out at the graduation ceremony this weekend.

Facing a deluge of criticism, Wrentham school administrators have relented on their refusal to allow West Point officials to honor two student appointees and will allow the presentations to occur at this weekend's graduation, state officials said.

King Philip High School seniors Jeffrey Chin and William Small will receive their official appointments at commencement ceremonies this Sunday, marking accomplishments won through years of hard work and perserverence.

"The public has spoken," Jeffrey Chin's mother, Pam, said today. "I've gotten so many calls. It's so nice to see how caring and respectful people are."

School administrators had initially prevented West Point from appearing at a school banquet planned for tonight to present the appointments, citing a school policy of allowing only local groups to attend. But they devised an alternative plan for graduation after parents, congressmen and town officials flooded the school with phone calls.

Administrators did not return phone calls yesterday and have not been reachable for comment today.


No comment necessary, just a good wood shampoo for future reference.

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