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Obama Mask Is Banned From School Skit

From the Oregonian:

No he can’t, at least not with a mask

A principal objects to a boy’s dance skit using an Obama mask

Saturday, March 14, 2009


A mask similar to one President Barack Obama himself wore in a "Saturday Night Live" skit prompted a Portland school principal to ban a boy from performing while wearing it at his elementary school talent show after deciding the rubber likeness of the 44th president was "inappropriate and potentially offensive."

Dru Lechert-Kelly, 11, a fifth-grader at Llewellyn Elementary School in Southeast Portland, decided to dress up like his role model and dance to a popular YouTube song that features an Obama look-alike dancing to a parody called "I Can Do Whatever I Like."

Dru performed the skit in front of teachers and students during a rehearsal for Llewellyn’s annual talent show Thursday. He wore a navy blue suit, white shirt, red tie, black shoes and an Obama mask purchased at a costume shop. The choreographed routine ended with Dru on the floor in the splits.

"He practiced for weeks," said Scott Lechert, 50, an instructional designer, who along with his partner, Paul Kelly, 55, a physical therapist, adopted Dru from a Romanian orphanage in 1999 at age 11/2. Both dads helped Dru design his stage props — a desk with a large presidential seal stuck to the front with duct tape. And both coached their son to "have lots of bop" and "use your shoulders" during his routine.

After Thursday’s performance, the "crowd went wild," Dru said. But so did some of the adults in the audience.

"I talked to the parents who are coordinating the talent show, and they feel it’s inappropriate and potentially offensive," Llewellyn Principal Steve Powell said.

When asked what was offensive about Dru’s skit, Powell refused to discuss it.

"I won’t say why it’s inappropriate," he said. "I’m not saying anything to The Oregonian. Why? Because I don’t want to."

Powell said he hadn’t seen Dru’s performance but has watched the parody on YouTube.

Lechert had to break it to his son: One of the talent show organizers had called to say that Dru could perform his skit but that he wouldn’t be allowed to wear the mask.

On Friday, Dru decided not to perform at all — opting instead to attend a roller-skating party.

The reasons, according to Dru: The skit doesn’t make sense without the mask, and he’s a little too shy to do it without the mask.

"If I don’t have the mask," Dru said Friday, "it’s just some kid up there dancing around."

As for Dru’s parents, they find the whole thing confusing as well.

"I understand the history of black face and how African Americans were caricatured by it," Lechert said. "However, we now have a popular biracial president who is admired by white and nonwhite people. At what point will it become OK for an 11-year-old admirer to dress up as the president without fear of offending someone?"

Kelly said that as a gay couple, he and Lechert consider themselves particularly sensitive to issues of minority groups.

"We are white, but we’re a minority class," he said. "We have some insight into this process of what is and what isn’t offensive. There was obviously no intent to harm here — or really any possibility of offending anyone."

As for Dru, he’s disappointed — he’s been practicing for weeks. But what bothers him most is that anyone would think he’d do anything that might offend his hero: Barack Obama.

When asked what he liked most about the new president, Dru said, "He said he would try to change the world and make the economy better."

Lechert pushed his son to tell the whole truth.

"Well, also because somebody told me he has a Wii all hooked up to a huge flatscreen in the White House. That’s cool."

Well, at least they haven’t accused young master Dru with a hate crime.

Maybe his ‘parents’ provided him so protection there.

By the way, the screen grab at the top is from our story from back in October 2008, when Amazon was caught red-handed listing Mr. Obama’s mask under “terrorism.”

Obviously the best thing is to avoid all graven images of the Anointed One.

(Thanks to BillK for the heads up.)

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, March 15th, 2009. Comments are currently closed.

16 Responses to “Obama Mask Is Banned From School Skit”

  1. BillK says:

    From an offended [Associated Press]:

    School: Student Can’t Wear Obama Mask at Talent Show

    PORTLAND, Ore. — An elementary school principal is barring a fifth-grader from wearing a Barack Obama mask in the school’s talent show because parents have complained it’s inappropriate.

    Dru Lechert-Kelly, 11, hoped to dress presidentially and dance to a YouTube parody that features an Obama look-alike and a rap called “I Can Do Whatever I Like.”

    The skit features him in a navy blue suit, white shirt, red tie, black shoes and an Obama mask purchased at a costume shop — one like Obama himself once donned for a Saturday Night Live sketch. The choreographed routine rehearsed Thursday ends with Dru on the floor in the splits and was met with applause from students and teachers.

    But some parents objected.

    “I talked to the parents who are coordinating the talent show, and they feel it’s inappropriate and potentially offensive,” said Steve Powell, principal of Llewellyn Elementary School in Portland.

    He declined to say specifically why it might be offensive. Dru’s parents, Scott Lechert and Paul Kelly, suggest it’s race.

    “There was obviously no intent to harm here or really any possibility of offending anyone,” Kelly said.

    Dru said he didn’t think performing without the mask was an option.

    “If I don’t have the mask,” he said, “it’s just some kid up there dancing around.”


    Why do I think that were it a Bush mask instead, the parents would applaud with glee?

    • Liberals Demise says:

      Drus’ parents are Scott and Paul?
      And of course……..it’s all due to “race”.

  2. Colonel1961 says:

    Hasn’t been charged yet…

  3. brad says:

    Well that’s it then, if you can’t have two gay men as your non-racist alibi, then there is no way to fight the hyper-sensitive thought police.

    Sorry kid, even ultra liberal gay people can’t overcome ultra-liberalism. . . .

  4. curvyred says:

    Sorry but the whole victim “class” is why your child cannot do the skit.

    Something these parents are obviously a part of with the above statement they made.

    This the same school who booted out Soots the cat (after 6 yrs and a book):

    It was a bittersweet celebration this fall for Llewellyn Elementary.

    “Days before Sooty — Llewellyn’s longtime resident cat — made his literary debut as Munchkin in a children’s book inspired by his life at the school, the gray-and-white kitty was expelled for agitating some students’ allergies. ”

    “It wasn’t an (emotionally) easy decision to make, but I know I’ve made the right decision,” said Principal Steve Powell, who initiated adopting Sooty. “What is a school about? Educating kids. The kids come first.”


  5. Celina says:

    Is that screen cap (from Amazon I assume) for real? Searching for “terrorist costume” results in a mask of Obama? LMBO

  6. U NO HOO says:

    I never said this before, but, WTF?

  7. Sharps Rifle says:

    What in God’s name are we coming to?

  8. U NO HOO says:

    Hmmmm…no more big buckles at Thanksgiving, insults people who can’t afford belts or shoes…no more stove pipe hats on Feb 12, Lincoln was a rich Republican, some can’t afford hats…no Uncle Sam on stilts on July 4, might insult short people…no pumpkin pie, unfair to pumpkins and jack o lanterns…Easter is an insult to funeral directors…ad nauseum.

  9. canary says:

    Since God isn’t allowed in school anymore, neither should Obama. Unfortunately public schools have spent tax-payers money on Obama’s auto in McDougal Literature books, where he makes up story of killing wild animals in Africa, and where’s PETA. Let’s hope this child can be a child, and not expoited, cause Obama might pay a visit and make him a poster child, for world class education. Even the child says Obama will change the world. Out of the mouth of babes

  10. Confucius says:

    Maybe he’s a Muslim.

  11. Rusty Shackleford says:

    Sheesh…Saw the mask and said, “WHAT? 50 BUCKS?!…NO WAY!”

    Then I noticed that it looked a lot like OJ.

    Now that truly IS creepy.

    • canary says:

      If the child had put a muslim attire cap on his head, nobody would have objected. He should have said he was Obama B.L. with a haircut.

  12. 12 Gauge Rage says:

    Maybe people were offended because they thought the dance reminded them too much of a minstrel show.

  13. Jim C says:

    “Obviously the best thing is to avoid all graven images of the Anointed One.”

    What am I to do with all of the flatware and coins I purchased from Montell Williams?

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