Brooklyn student causes stir with Hitler costume

Student was instructed to remove his beige coat bearing a red swastika armband but he refused saying it was freedom of expression.

November 1, 2006 18:24
1 minute read.

A Brooklyn high school student caused a stir when he showed up for class dressed as Adolf Hitler for Halloween, insisting it was a satire of the Nazi dictator. But some students and officials at Leon M. Goldstein High School were not impressed with the outfit Walter Petryk, 16, wore to school. In order to avoid a disruption on the way to school, Petryk disguised his Hitler getup as a costume of Charlie Chaplin, adding a bowler hat and cane. School administrators ordered the junior honors student to remove his beige coat bearing a red swastika armband or possibly face spending the day in the office, Petryk told the New York Post for Wednesday editions. Petryk refused, saying his parody was protected by his right to freedom of expression. Petryk's stepfather, Howard Bloom, who is Jewish and lost relatives during the Nazi genocide, told the Post he was initially "very disturbed" by the costume but nonetheless defended his stepson's rights. "If he had wanted to advocate my genocide, I wouldn't have allowed" the costume, Bloom said. "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." The city's Department of Education discipline code allows for the removal of students from class if they wear clothing that causes a disruption.

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