Friday, June 15, 2012


About 45 students and parents converged outside the Board of Education offices this afternoon to protest punishments that were handed down to five members of a Columbia High School comedy group, which performed a sketch that apparently offended some teachers who were parodied in the performance.

Members of Friday Night Live, a group that has performed at the school dating back decades, first performed the sketch on June 5, according to members. It again performed the same sketches on June 7 and were never barred from engaging in the sketches by supervisors, the students said.

But, after the second performance, the students were told they could not perform any of the shows sketches for the final show, slated for June 9.

After students took the show to the Maplewood Tennis Club and reportedly performed in front of some 200 people, with proceeds going to a charity, five of the students -- nicknamed the Funny Five  -- were told earlier this week they would have to serve an all-day Saturday detention on June 16. Several were initially barred from the Senior Prom, set for Monday, but those restrictions were lifted today and replaced with community service.

At Friday's protest, student Dylan Reichman, who launched an online petition against the punishment this week that has more than 800 signers, said the opposition is aimed at what is perceived as unfair treatment by the school and misinformation from the school district.

He spoke Friday:

In addition, two of the five students who were given the day-long suspension also spoke to Maplewoodian. Both said they planned to ignore the punishment and not show up Saturday:

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