A Texas wrestler has landed himself in hot water after objecting to a new standardized test he was forced to take in the most direct way possible, and possibly the most unwise as well: He opted to write “YOLO” (You Only Live Once) and a smiley face on his multiple choice answer sheet and tweeted it out to the world.
As reported by Dallas-Fort Worth news network WFAA, Kyron Birdine, a star wrestler for Arlington (Tx.) High, was suspended for four days because of his original tweet, which depicted his personal scantron sheet just before he handed it back in.
Before everyone throws Birdine under the bus -- and to be fair, there’s plenty of reason for that -- the teen was actually making a political statement with his test answers, even if the statement was made in a rather crude way. Below his YOLO test photo, Birdine wrote. “I have the TAKS to study for, not this unneeded craziness.” In Texas, the TAKS test is the standardized measure that determines if students graduate.
"It wasn't for a grade," Birdine told WFAA. "Colleges don't see it. It didn't benefit my personal life at all."
The test Birdine intentionally gave up on was the STAAAR, a new test that isn’t used for graduation eligibility.
Of course, that doesn’t justify Birdine’s decision to opt out of the test in the most melodramatic way possible. It also doesn’t justify his tweeting his original YOLO message directly at the Texas Education Agency and Arlington Independent School District; that’s just stupid.
Birdine has another year ahead of him (he's just a junior) but isn't in any kind of academic trouble. Rather, WFAA reported that he holds a 3.0 GPA and reportedly scored notably high on his PSAT.
Still, as USA Today noted, Birdine hasn’t given up his personal quest, either. He deleted his original tweet under duress from officials, but he quickly tweeted out a photo of him in his Arlington wrestling uniform with a rather direct message, as you can see directly above.
Free Kyron? Perhaps he can now free himself by proving that he’s learned adequately enough to graduate when he takes the TAKS. If he doesn’t, his political stance will be all the more phyrric.