Friday, August 5, 2011

Attention All Super Heroes, Please Report to the Principal's Office

My little guy is about to head off to preschool in a month and the list of rules circulating is already starting to worry me a bit. It's not the drop-off requirements (no yapping on your cell phone) or lunch packing suggestions (a cold pack included) that have me anxious. It's not even the implied ban on head-butting (a favorite pastime which my son has abandoned, but for special occasions).

The explicit rule from my son's preschool that shocks my conscience the most was right there in print when I perused the orientation pamphlet the other day:

"Action/super hero clothing are not permitted to be worn at school as it promotes hyperactivity in the children."

I stopped and read it again. And again. And again.

Really? Banning super hero clothes at a preschool? I think Amish schoolchildren have more freedom of expression.

I started wondering how exactly super hero clothing "promotes hyperactivity in the children." When a two year old dresses in a Hulk tee-shirt, do the other toddlers turn green, instantaneously develop bulging muscles, and start ripping their clothes off? Does a three year old Spiderman scale the school walls during circle time? Do children encourage Superman to fly off the jungle gym at recess?

I am dying to know what kind of alarming incidents the school has encountered in the past that would necessitate such an encompassing ban on superheroes on school premises.

I'm wondering if this rule is really just discrimination against boys cloaked in other language. Gender profiling, if you will.

I mean, don't tell me that princess clothing and tiaras couldn't start a flash mob situation in preschool. Three year old girls would be chucking plastic "glass" slippers at one another and smearing fake lipstick on each other's faces. And if such a riot were not enough for an all out ban on princess clothes, surely the school might consider the fact that princess clothes promote unrealistic expectations about love (much in the same way that rampant porn online does for teenage boys).

As I toy with the parameters of the "superhero ban," I wonder if a cape would be considered a threat? How about an eye mask? What about face paint? Does Lightening McQueen qualify as a "super hero?" Your Honor, I argue in the negative.

My little boy hasn't even started school yet and already I want to push the limits and test the boundaries as much as I know he will. I've heard it before and I'll repeat it again. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Only problem here: it's gonna take a whole gaggle of pint-sized superheroes to eradicate this injustice.

I'm not sure yet if I'll send my son to school in his Spiderman tee-shirt or perhaps something more subtle, like a "F_ _ _ the Rules" tee-shirt (I believe this to be constitutionally protected political speech per the Supreme Court ruling in Cohen v. California).

All I can tell you is they can't ban THIS Wonder Woman from the car drop-off line. I can assure you that once the other moms see me in full super hero regalia, you can bet your ass that all other rules are out the window: the moms will be on their cell phones during drop-off (a big no-no): "DID YOU SEE WHAT SO AND SO WAS WEARING THIS MORNING?!" They'll forget to put a cold pouch in their kids' lunches (god forbid), and they may possibly head-butt their steering wheels, wishing they had come up with such a fashion forward Wonder Woman outfit first.

As for now, I'll remain vigilant, like any good super hero's mom would.