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‘Banana man’ receives suspension
Colonial Forge High student suspended for “Banana man” stunt.

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Date published: 9/21/2011

Colonial Forge High School sophomore Bryan Thompson said he thought it would be fun.

So at a home football game last Friday, he sprinted around the field during half-time wearing a banana costume. He was detained by a Stafford County Sheriff’s deputy and released when his mom arrived.

The next day, a student uploaded video of the incident onto YouTube. As of yesterday afternoon, “The Legend of Banana Man” video had received more than 50,000 views on the website.

But the Stafford school’s administration didn’t find the stunt funny. Colonial Forge Principal Karen Spillman issued Bryan, 14, a 10-day suspension and is recommending that he be suspended for the rest of the school year.

Her reasons for the long-term suspension include:

Disobedience of an administrator

Disrespectful behavior toward an administrator

Disruption of an activity

Refusal to follow directions of an administrator.

Bryan’s mom, Tavia Thompson, showed The Free Lance–Star a letter about Bryan’s suspension, which she is appealing. Superintendent Randy Bridges will conduct a hearing about the principal’s recommendation, according to the letter.

Stafford Sheriff’s spokesman Bill Kennedy said the student was not charged in the incident.

Public opinion appears to be on Bryan’s side.

Students have started Facebook pages supporting him.

Some are wearing yellow to school, including a girl who posted a picture of herself on Facebook with yellow shoes and a yellow shirt. There have even been reports of “Free Banana Man” T–shirts.

“I think the support is amazing,” Bryan said yesterday.

T–SHIRTS CONFISCATED

Stafford schools spokeswoman Valerie Cottongim wouldn’t discuss Friday night’s incident.

“We have a responsibility to protect the privacy of the students, and that is why we don’t comment on individual students, their actions or individual student discipline cases,” she said.

She did say a couple yellow T–shirts have been confiscated from Colonial Forge students who were whipping them around at the school.

“They were being used as rally rags,” Cottongim said. “It was creating a disturbance in the classroom.”

Bryan’s mom said she heard school officials were also confiscating bananas with “Free banana man” written on them.


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