I saw this terrible incident on the television news the day it happened, but I heard no mention of the fact that the event was a pep rally to get students “fired up” for the Florida state tests.


The student body of 2,000 was assembled in the gymnasium of the Atlantic Community High School for a pep rally, whose purpose was to “jazz up students in advance of the Florida Standards Assessment test.”


“Students were quizzed on sample test questions during the rally. When they answered correctly, they were rewarded with showy slam-dunks on the basketball court.”


After the questions and answers, a professional stuntman who performed fire-breathing tricks started his act. However, the stunt went wrong, and he caught on fire. The fire-breather was severely burned, and 20 students required medical treatment afterwards.


The principal had approved the stunt, which was contrary to district rules about indoor fires.


But no one asked what the high school was having a pep rally to “jazz up” preparations for the state tests.


One was a dangerous stunt, the other was just a stupid stunt on behalf of a dumb policy.