Is this inappropriate? Yes.
Is this offensive? again, to many people, Yes.
Is it sensible? No.
Is it funny? Maybe to some.
Is it a publicity stunt? Maybe
Was the school right to send him home? Absolutely
I was horrified to see a child dressed as the lead in a soft porn book which deals with all aspects of sexual control and some pretty extreme sexual activity. The mother’s arguments in favour seemed to mainly consist of:
1) It’s a book,
2) It was his idea
3) It’s just a bit of fun
4) It wasn’t meant to be offensive and there are worse characters
And lastly 5).Everyone has heard of the book.
Hmmm I think that at the very least your child should have read, or have had read to them, the book in which their character appears. Of course this young boy has not read this book or had it read to him,nor has he seen the film, of course he hasn’t it is a book for adults. So on this point alone I think the idea was wrong.
As to ‘it was his idea’ I’m not sure I can argue as I wasn’t there – but I suspect that either it wasn’t or that he was egged on after suggesting it, if my own child suggests something inappropriate we discuss why it is not a good idea, we talk about it and I, as the adult have the veto.
Just a bit of fun? For whom I wonder. For him? Hardly as he was excluded form school and mocked online. For his mother? Maybe, she is an internet celebrity for the next few days, though notorious rather than famous. Probably not a ‘bit of fun’ for any girls at his school if he had any inkling at all of how to act out his character…what did he imagine the cable ties where for? Tidying the space at the back of her PC ? This might have been funny at a family party, but at school? (actually I'm struggling to see it as funny anywhere)
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Dressing as a character that sparks debate is great if you fully know the book and the character, that is after all what world book day is about! Sparking debate and allowing children to share their favourite books and their knowledge of characters with their friends. But dressing as a controversial character for the sake of ‘a laugh’ I’m not sure I see the point.
Worse characters? Well yes I suppose there are, the wolf in Little Red Riding Hood eating up a grandmother, the villainous thief and murderer Jack in Jack and the beanstalk, even the ugly sisters in Cinderella who bully and abuse their stepsister could count, but these are children’s stories for children. Stories that children can read and discuss, they can make up their own minds as to the worth of the character and learn because of them. In the case of Mr Grey, in a book the boy has not read he is merely a person..nothing more nothing less and as such is at worst offensive and at best pointless.
And everyone had heard of the book. Of course we have, due to the movie and massive media attention. Most of us are fed up to the back teeth with it if we are honest – surely even those people that actually liked the books are bored of them by now. But of course here I am along with all the news outlets talking about it, again. So maybe that’s the real reason her son went to school as a sexual control freak. To be in the news. My opinion is that the costume was tasteless, pointless, inappropriate and attention seeking.
What do you think? Was the costume funny or offensive? And was the school right to send him home?