Anti-drug message foiled by pro-drug acronym

NEW HAMPTON, Iowa—Parents were up in arms Friday in the wake of a botched anti-drug campaign launched by New Hampton High School principal Gregory A. Youngblood.

“The saying is ‘those who can, do; those who can’t, teach,'” ranted Bruce Monson, a parent of two NHHS students. “The rest of the saying must be ‘those who don’t know their elbow from their asshole grow up to become fucking principals.'”

To usher in the school year, Youngblood conceptualized a program that would encourage New Hampton High teens to just say no to various illegal drugs. Youngblood rolled out the campaign during Monday’s first-day-of-school pep rally to lackluster response, until someone noticed the ironic acronym.

“So Principal Numbnuts is going on and on about us not getting high or whatever, and he drops this lame-ass slogan on us: Get Rid Of Weed, Downers, Opiates, PCP, Ecstacy,” says senior Lance Billings. “So a bunch of us are snickering, rolling our eyes, what have you, and then it hits me: Dude, he’s telling us to G.R.O.W.D.O.P.E.

“I immediately volunteered to chair the campaign’s marketing committee,” Billings said. “We had t-shirts by Thursday!”

The anti-/pro-drug campaign's unofficial t-shirt.

The anti-/pro-drug campaign unofficial t-shirt.

On Friday, students donned their new shirts, which beared the slogan, “Principal Youngblood says G.R.O.W.D.O.P.E.!” with the campaign’s full name spelled out in microscopic type. The preshrunk T is black with white writing, and ranges in sizes from XS to XXXL, so as not to exclude anyone aside from the hardcore bulimics and the morbidly obese.

“They have their own set of problems,” Billings says. “They can G.R.O.W.D.O.P.E. once they stop eating and/or puking up every calorie in sight.”

When Youngblood saw the parade of G.R.O.W.D.O.P.E. t-shirts in the halls of New Hampton High, he realized that the weeklong frenzy over the campaign probably had more to do with the unfortunate acronym than any real desire to be free of mind-altering substances.

“And now I feel a little silly about funding the students’ t-shirt initiative,” Youngblood said sheepishly. “Oh well. I would have misspent the money earmarked for the faculty incentive program at some point anyway.”

Speaking of teachers, they, as usual, were among the last to pick up on the simmering controversy. While a couple of staffers tried in vain Friday to get the students to take off the simultaneously anti-drug/pro-drug apparel, most of the faculty just shrugged.

“First off, I was asleep during that pep rally, so there’s a strike against me,” said Harvey Coors, an upper-level mathematics teacher and junior varsity girls’ basketball coach. “Second, I’m a math guy, so I’m not sure an in-house quality check under my watch would have sniffed out the acronym. That’s more of a wordsmithing kind of thing.

“Third, they don’t pay me shit, so what, I’m supposed to care all of a sudden?”

Some students have been down this road before. New Hampton junior Steve Hardcastle was on the school’s quiz bowl team last year, which was coached by Principal Youngblood. In what was meant to be a team-building exercise, Youngblood suggested they get away from the boring title of “Quiz Bowl Team” and go with something punchier.

“At first we were on board—we were thinking it would be cool to go to competitions known as the Academic Dominance Squad,” says Hardcastle, who stressed he will not be on the team this year, college résumé be damned. “Kinda sweet, right? But then Youngblood decided to put his touch on it, and you could say this was the, um, initial problem.”

Youngblood thought it would somehow be cool to be called the Whimsical Academic Dominance Squad—”Don’t ask me why,” Hardcastle quipped—and then, because he was the coach and often the supplier of meals on competition trips, he wanted his handle attached to the squad’s name.

“So yes, the team became ‘Gregory A. Youngblood’s Whimsical Academic Dominance Squad,'” Hardcastle sighed. “It was hard enough to get halfway cool kids to join, much less impress the hot chicks, before we became the ‘GAYWADS.'”

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