Left: Peachtree Ridge HS
(Suwanee, GA) A high school junior was suspended for five days after singing a spoof of the song "On Top of Ol' Smokey."
The version of the song that Beth Ann Cox, 16, sang includes the lyrics: "On top of Ol' Smokey, all covered with blood, I shot my poor teacher with a .44 slug."
Cox, a student at Peachtree Ridge High School, admitted that she had been humming the song during German class, but claimed that she was not singing loudly or directing the lyrics at the teacher, Phil Carroll.
"I'd had a song stuck in my head all day, like the tune of it," she said. "This kid in front of me asked me about the song. So I told him the words. I didn't say them loudly."
Sloan Roach, a spokesperson for Gwinnett County schools, disagreed with the version of events as presented by Cox. She said the student was discussing a grade with Carroll when she began singing the song out loud in class. Roach also said that the five-day suspension was "appropriate disciplinary action" for disrupting class.
Cox was pulled out of class later on Friday and accused of threatening a teacher. She began serving her suspension on Monday of this week.
School administrators told the student that they would also revoke her permissive transfer, which means she will not be able to return to Peachtree Ridge for her senior year.
Beth Ann has had previous difficulties with the teacher in the past, according to her mother.
"We feel that Dr. Carroll has some kind of a vendetta out for our daughter. And he used this to take a stand against her," said Suzanne Cox.
The family plans to meet with their attorney today to discuss possible legal action, arguing that the suspension and forced transfer were unfair.
I am the parent of teenagers, and they do some goofy things from time to time. If my children got suspended every time they did something as foolish as singing "On Top of Ol' Smokey," they would be out of school more than they would be in it.
Heck, one of my daughters only got three days for being in a fight with another student, although she did get a trip to the Lucas County juvenile detention facility for violating the Safe Schools ordinance.
As a child I sang a similar version of the song:
On top of ol' Smokey all covered with sand,
I shot my poor teacher with a green rubber band.
I went to her funeral, I went to her grave,
Everyone threw flowers, BUT I THREW GRENADES!
(The last portion of this version must be sung at the top of the lungs for maximum effect).
In my mind a five-day suspension to Beth Ann Cox for "threatening" a teacher is ludicrous. For school officials to call this a "threat" - with a straight face - is the height of absurdity. One would hope that a sensible district administrator will step in to avoid dragging this out into a protracted legal battle.