Todd Starnes / Oct. 24, 2015

Fruit Fiasco: High School Students Face Punishment for ‘Racist’ Fruit Basket

The hullabaloo started on Oct. 16 when the marching bands from Atascocita High School and Summer Creek High School exchanged gifts before a football game. … The youngsters from Atascocita gave their counterparts a Halloween basket that included canned pineapple, a whole coconut, a small watermelon and some candy. An adult sponsor for the band raised concerns and those concerns were forwarded to school administrators.

A Texas school district has its kumquats in a twist over a fruit basket they considered to be racially insensitive.

The Humble Independent School District’s fruit fiasco has resulted in investigations, punishments and national media coverage.

The hullabaloo started on Oct. 16 when the marching bands from Atascocita High School and Summer Creek High School exchanged gifts before a football game.

“It is a tradition for student representatives of competing schools to exchange gifts on the field at varsity football games,” public information officer Robin McAdams said in an email to me.

The youngsters from Atascocita gave their counterparts a Halloween basket that included canned pineapple, a whole coconut, a small watermelon and some candy. An adult sponsor for the band raised concerns and those concerns were forwarded to school administrators.

“School Administrators conducted an investigation and after considering the totality of circumstances, determined that the gift was inappropriate and lacked good sportsmanship,” McAdams told me. “Atascocita High School will not tolerate racial insensitivity.”

My goodness — who knew the Piggy Wiggly produce aisle was wrought with such racial animus?

Several of the students involved told Houston-area television stations they did nothing wrong.

“I’m mixed race,” senior Alyssa Taylor told ABC13. “I don’t take offense to that. How can someone else take offense?”

There are reports that some of the students involved may be kicked out of the band and others may face In School Suspension.

“It’s just not fair, not fair,” parent Hector Andaverde told the television station.

The school district said their investigation determined a few of the students “discussed that the watermelon could be perceived as racially offensive and should not be included in the gift.”

The watermelon? Really? That’s the racially offensive fruit? My money was on the coconut.

Assistant Superintendent Trey Kraemer wrote in a letter to parents that Summer Creek’s band members were “confused by the nature of the exchange.”

“Typically, these gifts contain snacks such as crackers, candy and popcorn that can be readily shared among students and eaten during the game,” he wrote.

Quite frankly, I take offense at the assistant superintendent’s use of the word “cracker.” I prefer to be called a Saltine-American.

School administrators say they are working to implement procedures to prevent future offensive fruit exchanges.

I’m hoping the school district will announce a blue ribbon panel to once and for all determine which fruit is racially acceptable.

Off hand, I’d be suspicious of pomegranate, kiwi and those dancing raisins in the Motown song, “Heard it Through the Grapevine.”

And why stop at the produce aisle?

It’s possible that some LGBT students might take offense at a box of Fruity Pebbles. Hispanic band kids could take offense at being served salsa. And what greater insult is there than to serve lactose intolerant kids a bowl of Blue Bell Ice Cream?

This is indeed an issue that must be addressed — lest we offend this perpetually offended generation and their fragile psyches.

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