Milford, Mass–In a sign of the times, 10-year-old Thomas Griffith has been suspended for a week from Milford Elementary School after attempting to relate basic addition and subtraction principles to his classmates using Jacoby Ellsbury’s career UZR in center field.
According to the boy’s teacher, 41-year-old Mary Banks, Griffith caused a ruckus by suggesting Ellsbury had been less-than-stellar over the first two full seasons of his career. The boy pointed out that when combining the center-fielder’s positive output of ‘range runs’ to negative ‘error runs,’ Ellsbury’s reputation as a great gloveman might be somewhat exaggerated.
Naturally, the cited data angered the fourth-grade class’ large contingent of Red Sox fans, who asked to further delve into the numbers. However, Banks gave the boy a stern warning that he would be sent to the principal’s office if he continued to disrupt her lesson plan.
An avid learner, the boy attempted to avoid banishment from class by explaining that the statistic could be normalized by adjusting the stat for runs prevented per 150 games played at a given position (often referred to as UZR/150).
“We haven’t made it to the division unit in the textbook yet,” explained Banks during a special school committee meeting held to address the situation. “And his usage of both positive and negative integers was just confusing. I’m a fourth-grade math teacher, not Alfred Eisenhower.”
District Superintendent Bruce Whalen confirmed the boy’s suspension, citing strict teaching guidelines laid out by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to prepare students for the upcoming 2010 MCAS exams.
According to the teacher, the boy was ultimately sent to the principal’s office after ignoring his teacher’s plea to return to an MCAS-supplied practice problem, which contemplated the cost benefit of replacing a duel-cassette-tape boombox with a new portable CD player equipped with 10-second skip protection.
“We can’t afford these types of distractions from the normal, accepted curriculum that has become status quo,” said Whalen. “We are determined to outperform last year’s MCAS results and we happen to like the system we have in place for keeping our district competitive.”
Asked for an example of a more appropriate math lesson that followed state curriculum fourth-grade standards, Banks cited Ellsbury’s recent jersey number change, “Jacoby used to wear number 46, but this year he will wear the number 2, which is 44 less than his old jersey number.”
The boy’s parents, Harold and Marcia Griffith, believe their son may have heard about UZR from some older kids in their neighborhood or perhaps from troublemakers on the bus.
“He’s already been grounded and told to stay away from the middle-schoolers on our street,” said Mrs. Griffith. “The next step may be home-schooling…We don’t want him growing up into some maladjusted teenager with a brain polluted by a bunch of useless formulas.”