Can being polite get you thrown out of school? It seemed that way for 9-year-old Tyler Stoken when he was flummoxed by an unusual writing question on the Washington Assessment of Student Learning test. The question: Write down what happens next if you look out the window and see the principal flying by. Tyler said he couldn't think of a way to answer the question without making fun of the principal. So he didn't write. The principal suspended Tyler for five days and sent him home with a letter chastising him for "blatant defiance and insubordination." The school superintendent later called to apologize.
Former Colorado Senator Ben "Nighthorse" Campbell famously wore bolo ties on Capitol Hill-but the style is apparently too risqué at one suburban Washington, D.C., high school. School officials initially withheld Thomas Benya's diploma because he wore a bolo tie under his gown instead of a regular necktie. School officials from Maurice J. McDonough High School in suburban Washington said they warned Mr. Benya that he couldn't wear the rope tie most popular with Native Americans and in the American Southwest. The student said he only wanted to pay homage to his Native American ancestry. School officials now say Mr. Benya can come in and pick up his diploma any time.
Maybe on the way to school isn't the best time for a driving lesson-especially if you're going to elementary school. A Chicago mother named Erin Sarandah decided to let her 11-year-old son drive the family minivan to school while she rode along in the passenger seat. The boy crashed the minivan coming around a corner, knocking over a school zone sign before coming to a rest next to a group of schoolchildren. No one was hurt, but police have ordered the mother and son to traffic court and have given both tickets.
More of less
How do you get people to eat more soup? Put more in the bowl. Researchers from New York and Illinois discovered that visual clues related to portion size help people decide how much to eat, perhaps as much as hunger. Some participants in the study slurped down soup from regular bowls while others ate from bowls with tubes attached to the bottom that replenished soup as the participant ate. Those eating from the "bottomless bowls" ate 73 percent more soup than the others and claimed to be no more full.
Two for one
Match this: Two New York cousins nailed holes-in-one on consecutive shots. Ruthie MacDonald and Joanie Villecco showed off some golf wizardry on the 115-yard No. 3 at Chenango Valley State Park Golf Course. Ms. Villecco went first, using a 9-iron off the tee to lay up and roll in. The pair celebrated Ms. Villecco's shot-a once-in-a-lifetime achievement. Then Ms. MacDonald took aim with a 7-iron. "The glory was all over," she said. "I got up there and didn't think anything about it. I just swatted the ball, down it went, bounced twice, hit the pin and went in. We just couldn't believe it." And with good reason. Golf Digest estimates the chances of two members of a foursome collecting an ace on one hole to be 17 million-to-1.
Playing with fire
A classroom demonstration literally blew up in Gary Hodgson's face. Mr. Hodgson, a retired forest ranger, was giving Lake Placid, N.Y., fifth-graders a lesson in 19th-century survival when the gunpowder he was igniting got out of hand. Mr. Hodgson, who suffered burns but is apparently OK, was showing students how to build a fire without matches.