A Brooklyn high school student was reprimanded by school officials for coming to school in a Hitler costume. The Post reports that 16 year old Walter Pertyk was taken out of his second period English class at Leon M. Goldstein High School (named after a "prominent Jewish educator") over his Halloween garb.
"Excuse me, fuhrer, can I talk to you for a minute?" is how Petryk recalled the dean, Paul Puglia, summoning him out of class.
Puglia then allegedly asked, "Are you out of your mind, you idiot?" and ordered him to the office with, "Consider yourself my prisoner of war."
Pertyk said he understood the concerns of administrators that faculty members had lost relatives in the Holocaust. But he maintained the costume was a parody protected under his right to free expression, and refused to take it off.
"I figured somebody would say something eventually, but I really do believe that people have a right to express themselves," said Petryk, an aspiring comedy writer who counts Mel Brooks, "Weird Al" Yankovic and the Monty Python cast among his idols.
Wow, Dean Puglia is pretty funny. And clearly Pertyk knew he would push buttons, since he dressed as Charlie Chaplin on the subway and on the way to school. But his parents supported his costume. Stepfather Howard Bloom, who lost relatives during the Holocaust, said, "If he had wanted to advocate my genocide, I wouldn't have allowed [the costume]. That wasn't the spirit in which he was doing this at all. He was doing it in the spirit of Monty Python and Mel Brooks." We suppose being "Young Frankenstein" for Halloween was too obvious.
It sounds typical of high school behavior - the desire to provoke and spend the time to grow out a mini-mustache for a Halloween costume. Pertyk says his classmates liked his getup (when he arrived to first period, "everybody was laughing"), but other students said they understood the faculty's reaction. The Department of Education said that the school followed proper procedures. We wonder if the school would have let people dressed as Saddam, Stalin, or Mao get away with those costumes.