Suspended for "Tebowing"?

There’s nothing like parental and/or school overreaction to a momentary fad for headlines and commentary, is there?  Whether it’s the overblown “sexting” craze, “rainbow parties,” or the pregnancy pact that spawned a really bad TV movie, it’s always a moment for immediate action — which isn’t to say that some action is entirely unwarranted.  In New York, a high school has suspended some of its students for creating a “hallway hazard” for …. Tebowing:

The Tebow mania sweeping the nation sacked a group of Long Island high-school students who were suspended for mimicking the quarterback’s famous prayer pose.

Twin brothers Tyler and Connor Carroll of Riverhead HS and classmates Jordan Fulcoly and Wayne Drexel were hit with one-day suspensions for kneeling and bowing their heads like Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow does when he scores a touchdown.

Administrators said the weeklong “Tebowing” craze was a distraction and a hallway hazard after dozens of classmates followed their lead. …

About 40 students had been gathering in the hallway all week emulating Tebow.

School administrators said the stunt jammed the hallway, making students late for class, and was a fire hazard.

“This is not about religious discrimination,” said Riverhead School District Superintendent Nancy Carney. “It is about being sure kids are able to get to class on time and keeping the kids safe and orderly.”

Well, just how dangerous was it?  Having 40 students kneeling in the hallway certainly generates a distraction and arguably a fire hazard, too. Tebow fans at the school could have conducted their demonstration at recess out in an open space rather than the hallways, so the school has a legitimate beef. However, it hardly seems like the kind of “dangerous” situation that warrants suspensions.  The school claims they warned the brothers to stop, which the brothers dispute, but a detention or two would have sufficed, at least in the sense of having the punishment fit the crime. The school appears to have lost some perspective in their haste to stem the Tebow tide.

Fox News devoted a segment to it today, and Judge Andrew Napolitano explains that the school couldn’t punish students for actual prayer, but they certainly could for just honoring an athlete in a disruptive manner:

The school needs to keep the hallways clear, but suspending students for Tebowing is a bit of an overreaction, especially for a passing fad like this. I’m not sure how it will survive Denver’s game with New England this week, anyway.