In your face

Many schools offer incentives to their students to improve their performance. Often the principal will undergo a Nickleodeon-type humiliation, such as kissing a pig or shaving off locks if the kids reach their goal of reading a certain number of books or improving test scores or something of the like.

A few weeks ago, principal Harold Brown at the struggling Sutherland School in Stockton decided to give his students such a treat for surpassing 700 in the state’s API scores. Selected kids from each class would get to throw a pie in the principal’s face at a special assembly. The school scores improved to 703, and out came the pie tins and whipped cream.

Brown donned a pair of goggles, and the first students stepped up to take their shots at him. They gently planted their whipped-cream filled pie tins in his kisser amid the giggling and guffaws. About he second or third round of kids a young boy stepped up and delivered his pie with a right cross worthy of a prize fighter. An audible “whoa” from the crowd was heard. When Brown pulled the pie from his face blood poured from his nostrils. The boy, a bit shocked and surprised at what he did, patted Brown on the shoulder and apologized.

Lodi Unified School District Board President George Neely and trustee Michael Abdallah who were also on hand for the event stepped in for the wounded principal.

Brown tried to stem the bleeding by pinching his nose with a towel. It seemed to work, and he resumed his duties as human target. But the very next shot, even though it was a just a moderate one, caused the blood to flow yet again. Finally Brown stuffed tissues in each nostril, which did the trick, and he finished out the event.

In boxing parlance a “cut man” is one of the team members in a fighter’s corner. As his name implies, his job is to help stem bleeding that a boxer may incur during a bout. A good cut man can make the difference between a successful fight and having it called off early.

Last year Brown set the goal for the school to surpass 700, which the kids did, and now he’s got his eye on 800 (also the number the state wants each school to hit or surpass). With the shot he took in the pie-throwing event, he might think about maybe kissing a pig as a new incentive (he already has a shaved head). Either that or hiring a cut man for his corner.

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