In the wake of the Newtown school shooting, it’s understandable that educators and parents alike might be a little sensitive when it comes to anything that involves even tangential connections between schools and violence. Still, sometimes even the best intentions can overreach, as in the case of a high school principal whose job was on the line because he made a goofy Terminator spoof video that was shown during announcements.
Erick Naumann recently took over as principal of Everett High School in Everett, Massachusetts. As a way to introduce himself to the students, he made a short video of him as “the Naumannator,” mixing footage of himself with footage from James Cameron’s Terminator films. Had it happened a few months ago, it would most likely have been a one-time goof and nobody would have given it a second thought. In the aftermath of the horrible tragedy of Newtown, however, the superintendent and some parents were troubled by the footage. Probably the most contentious issue: when a teacher in the video points out the empty classrooms and asks where the students are, and Naumann’s cyborg self says they’ve been “Naumannated.” You can see one of the original news reports below.
Initially it seemed possible that the stunt could have cost Naumann his job, but thankfully he was only hit with a two-day suspension, as was a teacher who helped to produce the video. It’s questionable whether he even deserved that, but given how lawsuit-happy some parents have proven to be over the years, I can’t really blame the School Committee for wanting to give him a slap on the wrist. But once Naumann’s two-day suspension is up…he’ll be back.