A renowned California high school track and field program finds itself without two of its star athletes thanks to the latest PG-13 related dance meme: Twerking.
As reported by the Associated Press and a handful of other news outlets, officials at San Diego (California) Scripps Ranch High suspended either 31 or 33 students (depending on which outlet you consult) because of their appearance in a slightly racy YouTube video. The bans will keep the students from attending the senior prom or their commencement ceremonies.
According to one report from ABC 10 news network, three of the suspended students mere members of the undefeated Scripps Ranch track and field squad, endangering the program’s perfect run.
"One of our best hurdlers, one of our best sprinters, and one of our best high jumpers are not allowed to run at our most important meet tomorrow because they're suspended for this video," Scripps Ranch student Emily Benzie told American regional channel ABC 10.
You can see the video for which the students were suspended above. While it could safely be categorized as involving slightly sexual themes, it displays no nudity. More telling, the entire YouTube video is based on a viral dance trend that has been displayed by the likes of Miley Cyrus and other celebrities in recent weeks, as noted by USA Today.
That apparently didn't ease the administration’s nerves, with officials acting quickly to ban all students involved shortly after the video was brought to their attention. The school claimed that the video violated the school’s sexual harassment policy, simply because it was "sexual in nature."
Naturally, that raises a valid question: Should a sexual harassment policy include any material of any sort that is "sexual in nature", even if the students willingly participated in it? The material constitutes sexual harassment just by remotely referring to slightly sexual material?
Sadly, that appears to be the case, and there may be little recourse for the track athletes in question. The students who were suspended are reportedly considering a panel review to try and have prom and commencement rights re-instated.
There has been no such consideration for the runners and field stars.