I heard this story on the radio while going to the grocery store this afternoon:
A new banned substance is making its way around Chandler Basha High School — ketchup. Bottles of the condiment have been smuggled into the cafeteria and promptly confiscated when students whipped them out for their burgers and fries.
The ketchup conspiracy began last week when school administrators, fed up with students stomping on ketchup packets and squirting the red goo on sidewalks and hallways, limited ketchup to three packets per burger. If they want more, they have to pay up: 25 cents per extra packet.
Outraged, about 50 students boycotted cafeteria food a week ago to send a message, and they’re still bringing their lunch this week, said Chris Goldsmith, a junior at the school.[…]
A black market even started up. Some students are selling their contraband at five packets for 25 cents.
Goldsmith said he doesn’t know anyone who stomped on the packets, but “as long as it doesn’t get on me, I’m fine. That’s what I think janitors are for.”
There’s a lesson here about high school students: They are not all dumb, and they will figure out creative ways to get around restrictions that you place on the things they want to do, if they want to do them badly enough.
There’s also a pretty obvious parallel here to a string of posts we’ve seen here on banning technology — banning technology because of the irresponsible behavior of a few people is only going to result in students breaking more rules to use technology in legitimate ways that ought not to have been restricted in the first place.
It’s a lot easier just to slap a ban on something because of a few people’s bad behavior, but ultimately it just doesn’t really work for anybody.