In Washington, D.C., WRC-4 reporter Pat Collins wore a grape suit to cover a story about a 14-year-old autistic boy, Bryan Thompson, who was handcuffed by police and suspended by his school for running down the sidelines of a high school football game (at halftime) wearing a banana costume.
During his report, Collins wrapped the story with sarcasm: “School officials accused him of being disruptive and disrespectful. Frankly, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.”
“But when you think about it, you might see [the school's] point,” Collins jokingly concluded. “It starts with a banana. Then, all of the sudden, you have an apple, and an orange, and maybe a grape! And before you know it, you have fruit salad in the schools! We can’t have that.”
Colonial Forge High School Principal Karen Spillman suspended Thompson for 10 days and recommended that he be kicked out of school for the entire year.
Afterwards, Thompson composed a rap song about the incident ('Free Banana Man!') and set up a Facebook page dedicated to 'Banana Man.'
Thompson’s fellow students began creating yellow t-shirts that read, 'Free Banana Man!' So the school banned the shirts and sent students to detention for supporting their classmate.
The American Civil Liberties Union then told the principal that her actions were unconstitutional. Spillman was ultimately forced to resign and Thompson has since returned to his studies.