Tuesday, February 05, 2008

...and don't fart, either!

This article makes for an embarrassing sequel to yesterday's article about boobs and ass-crackery: one middle school has banned "intentional farting."

CAMDEN (Feb 1): The Merriam Webster Dictionary definition for flatulence is brief: "flatus expelled through the anus." And while it's a natural bodily function, it seems some Camden-Rockport Middle School eighth-grade boys are taking it to new heights and making a game of seeing who can expel the loudest and grossest flatus.

According to this week's Fire Cracker school newsletter though, the joke's on the boys as the penalty for "intentional farting" is now a detention.

"Strange, but true, thanks to a bunch of 8th grade boys, intentional farting has been banned from CRMS," the newsletter said. "It started out as a funny joke and eventually turned into a game. This is the first rule at CRMS that prevents the use of natural bodily functions. The penalty for intentional farting is a detention, so keep it to yourself!"

According to a group of seventh-grade students milling around downtown following Friday's storm-related early release, the eighth-graders' escapades are well known in the school.

"They would do it in science class and other places," said Jordan Tyler. "It's a natural occurrence and we all do it 16 times a day."

When questioned where he learned that information, Tyler and the other students all said it was true, though they couldn't remember where they heard it.

One of the other students, Kyle Ruger, said the act by the boys was funny, but he had mixed feelings about whether it was appropriate.

Jordan Knowlton minced no words when she expressed how she felt, saying, "It's gross."

A teacher is perfectly within his or her rights to give students detention for deliberately obnoxious behavior. A specific rule about farting isn't necessary. What's necessary-- and is slowly draining away-- is administrative and parental support for the authority of the teacher, who should be able to adjudicate these issues on a case-by-case basis.

Incompetent teachers make the news, but I can say from experience that most teachers are hardworking, earnest folks simply trying to do their jobs. They deserve respect; their authority is in large part derived from it. They need help, too: a teacher isn't supposed to be a babysitter. If students come into class without some notion of decent public conduct, teachers aren't the ones to blame-- parents are. Kids enter a classroom thinking they can fuck around with the teacher because their parents don't instruct them otherwise. This oversight erodes community, and the school district will respond by overcompensating, by creating rules whose enforcement will be nearly impossible.

While part of me is guffawing at the ridiculous situation in Camden-Rockport Middle School, part of me is wincing at the plight of the teachers, who will now be obliged to inculcate another value-- don't fart in class!-- that should have been learned at home.

UPDATE: How could I have failed to note the unintentional humor of making an announcement about farting in a school newsletter called Fire Cracker? And isn't "firecracker" a single compound word? Maybe the newsletter's title is a subtle jab at white people in administrative positions...



  1. Hrm. When I first glanced at this, I thought it said "International Farting."

    A ban on International Farting would pretty much take kimchi off the menu. Lamb Vindaloo, too.

  2. "Maybe the newsletter's title is a subtle jab at white people in administrative positions..."

    This is probably one of your best lines ever! I actually laughed a little coffee out of nose when I read that this afternoon!

  3. Nosaj,



    I've never had lamb vindaloo, but I can attest that kimchi farts can be deadly.




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