Teacher suspended for touching girl inappropriately with banana during class

A teacher in Florida has been disciplined for reportedly touching a female student inappropriately in the head and neck area with a banana. Jonathan Hampton was suspended for three days without pay from his teaching job at North Marion High School after the student's parents complained, roughly three months after the incident.

According to his discipline letter dated May 13, 2013, a student said Hampton "rubbed a student's head and neck area with a banana" during a lecture about "cylinder objects, phalluses and/or sex symbols."

Sometimes a banana is just a banana. Not this time, apparently. Just look at it.

More: clickorlando.com. There's video, too, below. (thanks, Tara McGinley, via Arbroath)

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  1. The banana in the screen grab above seems particularly well endowed, if you will pardon me for noticing.  Is this the offending fruit, or merely a stand in?

      1.  The video states the incident was reported three months after it happened, so that means it is not the same banana. What does it tell about us as a society when a random, innocent banana can be implicated in a crime like this just because “they all look the same”? I hope the estate of this poor banana will sue the TV channel for defamation.

        1. Why didn’t that student have a banana of her own? The only way to stop a bad man with a banana is is a good woman with a banana

  2. Look at that sexual banana.  Just look at it.

    And in my day, in my rural high school, our teachers just used their hands to inappropriately touch us and/or hit us.  Except when they used wooden paddles, many of which had been customized for speed and/or strength.

    Damn kids today and their bananas.

    1. My elementary school principal had drilled many tiny holes in his wooden paddle. It whistled when he swung it. I never was paddled by it, but I was told that it stung like a motherfucker.

  3. I must have been cutting class the day the teacher lectured about cylinder objects, phalluses/and or sex symbols. 

    1. My 10th grade (the year that Deep Throat came out) biology teacher taught us how to override the gag reflex for purposes of oral sex. The 70s were a much better time to be an adolescent.

      1.  My history teacher let the class leave even thought it had just started because he said he was having flashbacks.

        1. My Critical Writing teacher, who was also the school hash dealer, brought in a copy of the Boston Phoenix with Chesty Morgan on the cover one day.

  4. It didn’t help that he was moaning and loudly comparing the banana to his own banana-like appendage, sweating profusely, and calling the student “baby.”  He claims he was simply moved by the metaphor.

  5. Three days for something that sounds weirdly inappropriate but not lewd or dangerous sounds about right. Unfortunately, the story made the news, and then the webs, and so he shall have to Be Made an Example Of. Probably capital punishment, followed by corporal punishment, followed by life in prison. He’s lucky it wasn’t two bananas.

  6. Yes, We Have No Bananas…

    Within the Court-mandated one mile radius of any school. 

  7. Scandal bananas, bananas scandal. fun to say, but you wouldn’t want to live there.

  8. Three months to report? That’s some righteous indignation right there…

    And in the words of Hans Boordahl, “Remember ladies, if it’s not a donut, it’s a phallic symbol…”

    1. Or maybe it was shame and embarrassment   Have you ever been sexually harassed   I have.  At work.  And then you have to talk about it.  Over and over again..  And most of the time they don’t believe you.  Yeah, “righteous indignation”, sure.

      Empathy, how does it work?

    2. “That’s some righteous indignation right there”

      Yeah, completely unlike the MRA backlash you’re promoting. Stupid minors who get sexually harassed. How dare they get mad! 

  9. I think something more is going on here considering that the “incident” happened 3 months ago and was only recently reported.

    My guess is that other students have been harassing the victim girl maybe with bananas and that is how the teacher incident came to light.

  10. * silence *



    Banana…what the hell are you…

  11. This is kind of bizarre to me. What’s the point of a three-day suspension without pay? That kind punishment seems more suited to the students than the teachers. 

    If he’s actually considered threatening, abusing or seriously inappropriate, and has had repeated misdemeanors in dealing with students, he should be fired – not forced to stay home and think about what he did for a few days. 

    If he did not really do anything wrong and there’s no real grounds for punishing him, again, why the suspension? It seems to be much more geared towards pleasing the parents than actually reprimanding him.

    1. Those are the only possibilities?  Being fired or continuing the job without discipline whatsoever?  That’s a bizarre position in my opinion. You even use the phrase “seriously inappropriate” without stopping to consider whether perhaps there is behavior that could be described as “moderately inappropriate” that would warrant a less severe form of discipline than “seriously inappropriate”. I really don’t understand.

    2. Same goes with any job really – if you need to call someones professionalism into question, it tends to be best to stick them on the bench while you ponder it.

  12. I think it’s vital for the youth of today to be able to defend themselves against any attacker who might be armed with a banana or other fresh fruit.  There are those who worry about people with pointed sticks and so on but I’d like to see the look on their faces should a homicidal maniac come at them with some logan berries!


  13. Isn’t it great how the interviewed all of these people who are offering their assessment when they weren’t there?  Its sick vile disgusting… this thing I heard about 3rd hand and was repeated exactly as it happened and not delivered in a way to make sure I reacted negatively.
    The school investigated and didn’t find him to be a perv, but some people feel the advanced class might have crossed lines… so they want credit for their kids to be in an advanced class, but not to actually have advanced thoughts…

    1. That person came off as probably more outraged that they were teaching about sex at all, this mumbo-jumbo with the banana just being a catalyst, or an excuse to make angry moral-sounding noises. Shocked, SHOCKED I tell you, that somebody did something that has not been explicitly described with a banana. And while making unreported comments about something! The utter depravity!

      Never mind, I’m just cranky that I watched that whole stupid video hoping for at least a re-enactment, because that would have been hilarious.

  14. The problem it was in the phallic symbol class. That’s a tricky class. Now, if it was a math class, then you can really work ’em over with bananas, hothouse cukes, what have you.. My personal favorite is a real pounding with japanese eggplant. Tres refreshing. Why, I had a shop teacher who use to take us outside and then I wake up screaming covered in sweat.

  15. The devil is in the details, and none are provided.  It seems the whole point of the lecture was that humans can ascribe sexual context to things that should by all rights be without it, (which is a very Freudian concept).  The only thing that everyone seems to agree with is that the girl said was that she was embarassed, which can mean a lot of things.

    Was she embarassed because they were talking about an embarassing subject?
    Was she embarassed simply because she got flustered.
    Since bananas are inherently non-sexual things, was she embarassed because she realised it was HER ascribing the sexuality to it?
    Was the embarassing part telling her parents about it?
    Was she embarassed because she felt her parents would overreact?
    Was she embarassed about potentially ending up in the news because of this?
    Was she embarassed because she actually felt sexually harassed?
    the parents simply pissed off that their daughter is being taught a
    sexual subject in school, and are using this as a way to lash out?
    Is no one really embarassed, but the parents think they can get some money out of this?

    1. >> Are the parents simply pissed off that their daughter is being taught a sexual subject in school, and are using this as a way to lash out?

      I don’t know, but Random Grandmother seems that way.

      What is it with our society that we seem to require the expertise of arbitrarily selected bystanders about everything? And instead of actual information, usually.

      1. The reporters treat the teacher having a banana as inherently suspicious; as if there were no innocuous uses for bananas.

        The subject matter became “uncomfortable”, which proves they not only don’t know anything about Freud, but that they think a kid can somehow study psychology without dealing with the uncomrfortable aspects of human nature.

        I love how Random Grandmother is the most quoted person in the report, and she acts as if she were just learned about it a few minutes ago.  “If I were…”
        no-no, Random Grandmother, we don’t want to know how you would deal with the hypothetical scenario of a teacher poking you in the face with a banana, we want to know how the girl who was poked feels about it.  Personally, I hate bananas, so of all the fruit to have a teacher poke me with, that would probably on less pleasant end of the list, but no one has stated what the girl’s fruit preference would be.

          1. Nope. In the article, she was identified as “a grandmother at the school.” If she were the girl’s grandmother, they would have said that.

  16. Regardless of the serious lack of details (and the teacher’s side of it), I would have a problem with a teacher rubbing anything on one of my daughters, regardless of what it was.

    1.  Absolutely!  Also, I’m totally open to the idea that this whole thing is an overreaction, but I’m bothered by all the “why did she wait three months to complain” comments.   How hard is it to understand “because she was embarrassed”?   Rape victims also are often questioned in a similar way when it takes them a while to work up the courage to speak; I find the parallel makes me uncomfortable.

      1.  Because it’s easy to sit back when the situation didn’t happen to you – and believe that you would have the courage to stand up for yourself if you were in a similar situation.

        People ascribe feelings they hope they would have – and transpose the uncomfortable reality of the situation into shock and/or suspicion that there could be such a long gestation.

        It would be a great world if everyone had the moral courage to stand up for their own feelings – it would be a greater world if such courage wasn’t put through the fires of public shame when it happens.  In this case I can’t imagine that the situation is any better for the girl in question – unless High School is radically different from when I grew up – she’ll forever be known as the banana girl for the rest of her time there.  All the pressures of an adult having to face a situation are compounded on a logarithmic scale in High School.

  17. I’m surprised a public high school in Florida has an advanced class in Freudian psychology.  They probably don’t have sex ed, other than abstinence-only.  Their science classes “teach the controversy”.  Reagan was one of the Founding Fathers, unlike that communist Thomas Jefferson.

    That the class exists at all is what amazes me.  Probably won’t any more, after this year.

  18. Did I just consume infotainment on boinboing?  Nevermind, don’t want to know.

    There is a bigger bad taste in my mouth around the “3 months” mystery, as if it’s always obvious that people will take you seriously if you report them for touching you with a banana.

  19. Well would it be a mitigating factor if they’d already had a sexual relationship in the past?

    I agree with the people in the video.  It was unbarrassing. What was he going through his mind, indeed.

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