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This just in: When the absurd becomes news

Infuriation compilation, volume two. Try to concentrate on the humor, not the insanity. Enjoy:

At Mainland Preparatory Academy in La Marque, Texas, three boys and seven girls between 11 and 12 years old were strip-searched Jan. 6 after a $10 bill was missing. The Galveston County Daily News reported that girls were sent with a female teacher, boys with a male, then were ordered to strip to their underwear.

To one upset mother who pulled her four kids from the school, Principal Wilma Green said, "I can't say if it happened again I wouldn't do the same thing."

Another unique justice method was employed at Matanuska Christian School in Wasilla, Alaska. After two male students were discovered kissing girls, Principal Steve Unfried instructed a teacher to whip him with a belt in front of the students until they repented.

Unfried, "who said he was inspired in his choice of disciplinary tactics by the actions of Jesus," according to the Anchorage Daily News, was fired in November.

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The incident went unnoticed until Unfried, proud of his creative corporeality, bragged about it in Bible class. His divine inspiration, he said, came in the middle of the night when he remembered how he once "cured" his son of lying by telling his son to hit him with a wooden ladle.

In Philadelphia, Thomas Holme Elementary School officials reacted resolutely in early December when a 10-year-old girl was discovered possessing a pair of scissors from home. Police handcuffed and detained the apparent terrorist-in-training, and school officials suspended her for a week. The girl finally stopped crying when she discovered her age to be higher than the school administrators' combined IQ.

New district policies in Philadelphia give administrators power to expel students for seemingly minor violations such as improper dress, swearing and zeal for arts and crafts.

In the spirit of justice, the Associated Press and other national news organizations repeatedly published the name of the African-American girl but not the name of the offending school.

More resolute action was found at Lake Dow Christian Academy, a strict Baptist school in McDonough, Ga., in December. A 14-year-old boy brought a pipe bomb to school and attempted to sell it to classmates. After the boy's arrest, administrator Rev. James West vehemently condemned the student, saying, "He didn't mean any harm, he just did a stupid thing. Boys are all the time doing stupid things."

Another bomb was later found hidden behind a tile in the bathroom, and police said static electricity could have caused either device to detonate. For the record, the asking price of $35 was too high.

Finally, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are causing an uproar in Mantachie, Miss. Parents recently began complaining when students eating lunch at Mantachie Attendance Center had their food thrown away by cafeteria staff and replaced with a mere PBJ when a student's lunch account ran dry.

I found it especially interesting this story hit the wires because my school has, in fact, the same policy. Except we only get a cheese sandwich.

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Every once in a while I find a story like this where the exact same thing that happens at my school is sparking outrage somewhere else. I'm not sure what this means -- which is more twisted? My school, or the modern definition of news?

I probably shouldn't answer that, huh?

Brian Hokanson is a senior at Pine Island High School. To respond to an opinion column, call 252-1111, category TEEN (8336) or send e-mail to teenbeat@postbulletin.com.

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