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Banana Man Is Back In School: Asperger’s Teen Handcuffed For Prank (Video)

Banana Man Is Back In School: Asperger’s Teen Handcuffed For Prank (Video)
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For dressing up like a banana and running onto a football field during halftime at a Colonial Forge High School football game on Friday, September 16, 14-year-old Bryan Thompson was (1) handcuffed by police; (2) placed in a police car; (3) suspended for 10 days; (4) threatened with suspension for the rest of the school year.

Can we call this a case of the punishment not exactly fitting what wasn’t even a crime?

According to a letter from principal Karen C. Spillman of Stafford, Virginia, Bryan has been suspended for “disobedience” and “disrespectful” behavior towards an administrator, “disruption” of a student activity, a “refusal” to follow the directions of an administrator and “continued disregard of the Student Code of Conduct.” In particular, he was seen as “presenting an immediate danger to the welfare, health and safety of any person.” How a teenage boy donning a banana costume and running onto a football field, and during halftime, could cause all that is not spelled out in the letter. The video below shows what occurred:

The Monday after the game, Bryan’s schoolmates protested his suspension by wearing “Free Banana Man” t-shirts — only to have them confiscated and to be ordered to be at school on Saturday as a punishment. Clearly the authorities at Colonial Forge High school felt that the incident had to be squashed faster than you can flatten, yes, a banana. At this point, the ACLU stepped in on the grounds that freedom of speech was being suppressed. Thousands expressed support for Bryan via Facebook as did students at his school, saying that they felt the principal had been overly harsh. Some, though, said they felt that students were objecting more to a new “principal seen as overly strict by some,” rather than standing up for Bryan.

In any event, the Stafford school district reduced Bryan’s suspension to five days. Bryan, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, returned to school this Monday morning and, according to his mother, Tavia Thompson, he “was just happy to be back at school.”

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32 comments

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10:51PM PDT on Oct 20, 2011

Leave Bananaman alone. He's not hurting anyone by running across a field dressed like a banana. Seriously, do the authorities at this high school really have nothing better to do than create drama from nothing to draw attention to themselves?

8:06PM PDT on Sep 30, 2011

Banana Man now has a web site you can visit for pictures video music and more, www.freebananaman.com

7:51AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Thanks for another well-written article, Kristina! Please keep us posted on Banana Man!

Dear Mrs Thompson, I can relate. I'm the mother of a young man that has Asperger's Syndrome. As a kid, he always liked disguises, wore them often, and wanted to go to school wearing a kilt. Though he doesn't have any behavioral problem, he often got in trouble in school, including an incident where he ended up hand-cuffed in the back of a police car, simply because of a misunderstanding. So, I have a lot of sympathy for Banana Man.

I'm glad things seem to be looking up for Bryan. Apparently, he's got good friends, he's well-liked at his school (which is not always the case for Asperger kids, unfortunately), he's even putting together his own website. His school seems to have (a little bit of) humor, since they
talked about “productive ways” that he might use both his running skills and his “affinity for cartoon suits”. I see a young man who, as my son, will be a productive member of society.

Go banana man, go. I'm going to buy two of your T-shirts: one for me, and one for my son.

7:27AM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

Thanks for another well-written article, Kristina! Please keep us posted on Banana Man!

Dear Mrs Thompson, I can relate. I'm the mother of a young man that has Asperger's Syndrome. As a kid, he always liked disguises, wore them often, and wanted to go to school wearing a kilt. Though he doesn't have any behavioral problem, he often got in trouble in school, including an incident where he ended up hand-cuffed in the back of a police car, simply because of a misunderstanding. So, I have a lot of sympathy for Banana Man.

I'm glad things seem to be looking up for Bryan. Apparently, he's got good friends, he's well-liked at his school (which is not always the case for Asperger kids, unfortunately), he's even putting together his own website. His school seems to have (a little bit of) humor, since they
talked about “productive ways” that he might use both his running skills and his “affinity for cartoon suits”. I see a young man who, as my son, will be a productive member of society.

Go banana man, go. I'm going to buy two of your T-shirts: one for me, and one for my son.

9:56PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

I thought Bananna Man was hilarious. But then I work in the performing arts and find football stupid and boring. Bryan has promise and will be outstanding (or out running) in what ever field he chooses. Maybe they will use him in sex education class when they do the condom on the bananna demonstration?

6:19PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Wow what do they do to students who wear gang colors or baggy clothes? If the administration hand cuffs banana man who was just having fun..... There needs to be a parent principle conference.

5:57PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

This is what happens with "Zero Tolerance". It's time that the person "in trouble" be considered as a person themselves, not lumped with everyone else. There may have been extenuating circumstances that needed to be considered.

5:42PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

doesn't know how to be a mascot :(

3:08PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

Gimme a break! Now what's wrong with having some fun? That would have been something I might have tried in my teens for a good laugh! So GO FOR IT Banana Man! Just give em' the slip next time. Why does anyone assume this is due to racism although I can see where throwing bananas on a field would be. Cripes! I saw the reinactment of the Fruit-Of-the-Loom gang (ala teenagers) walk down the sidewalk outside of my house a few months ago! Maybe I should have called in the National Guard! Could have been subjected to a "fly by fruiting" or something. This school system needs to develop a sense of humor versus authoritarianism.

2:09PM PDT on Sep 27, 2011

After all the recent stories about kids being bullied by classmates I just love that the students at this school rallied around and supported Banana Man.

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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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