Riverhead HS students suspended for ‘Tebowing’ in hallway
“Tebow-mania” is in full effect.
Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow has been the most popular athlete in professional sports over the past two months because of his late fourth quarter comebacks and openness about his religious beliefs. The 2007 Heisman Trophy winner is 7-2 since taking over as a starter for the Broncos; the team was 1-4 before Tebow was named the starter.
The act of “Tebowing” has also become widespread—emulating Tebow’s celebration after he scores a touchdown. Tebowing involves dropping to one knee, making a fist and bowing one’s head.
Tebowing has become so huge that the Global Language Monitor, which tracks trends in language, now recognizes the term, defined as “the act of taking a knee in prayer during an athletic contest.”
Though the act seems harmless, Tebowing had serious repercussions for two Long Island high school student-athletes.
Riverhead High School students Tyler and Connor Carroll received one-day suspensions Dec. 14 for Tebowing in the school’s hallway. As many as 40 students at a time participated in the Tebowing rituals in mid-December.
“It was basically just a tribute to Tim Tebow,” Connor Carroll told the New York Post. “It was more than a religious thing. There was some of that involved obviously, because he prays. I guess it was basically like a moment of silence.”
Riverhead is a public school, but school officials said that the students were not suspended for religious purposes. Instead, Tebowing in the hallway was a dangerous fire hazard and was making other students late to class since there are only three minutes between class periods.
“They knelt down in the hallway in between periods and made it impossible to pass,” Principal David Wicks told ABC News. “They were causing a situation that could have been unsafe. God forbid there was an accident or a fire alarm.”
School administrators said they handed out warnings before taking more extreme measures. Two other students, Jordan Fulcoly and Wayne Drexel, took part in Tebowing but were not suspended since they had never been warned.
“I just don’t think it’s fair,” Connor Carroll told the Post. “We were never given any warning. They said they did, but that’s completely false.”
Meanwhile, Riverhead Superintendent Nancy Carney said the district has been receiving hateful messages claiming that the school did not uphold religious tolerance. However, Carney said that the administration agreed that Tebowing posed more of a safety issue in that the act could potentially cause a riot.
“It’s just high school kids being kids and administrators doing what they do on a daily basis—keeping kids safe,” Carney told ESPN. “And with today’s world and cell phones and people taking pictures and video, it can be taken out of context.”
The Carroll brothers will be forced to serve their one-day suspensions. The bottom line of this scenario: Be careful where you “Tebow.”