Students at Weber High have done away with one of the more flesh-crawling activities associated with school "Pride Week" - the swallowing of live fish, worms and crickets.
The tradition died this year, following a decision Thursday by student body officers.At the urging of school officials and the Ogden-Weber Humane Society, student planners of the annual Pride Day Assembly had decided that the creatures should be dead before being swallowed. Later they decided to toss the entire event.
"It is final," said Susan England, a teacher who serves as student government adviser. "We absolutely, positively will not do it. Never again."
"It was apparently a boy-girl thing," said Carl Bruce, assistant principal. "The girls thought it was gross, but the guys thought it was cool."
Before the student debate culminated Thursday morning, Bruce said the acts would go on, just not live. But the Humane Society wanted it stopped altogether.
"We're trying to teach respect for all creatures, living or dead," said Linda Skeen of the group's board of directors. "We don't see any educational value to eating a dead or live worm or fish . . . if it's dead, that only means it was killed solely for entertainment value."
She said the society board received about 50 calls from parents concerned about the week's finale, which features other activities such as beard- and hair-growing contests, arm wrestling, skits, cheers and root-beer chugging.
And the creature features, in which a performer would offer $5 to anyone in the audience who would eat the live thing. The price rose until someone's courage matched it.
Bruce said students have said the contests would not be the same if the fish, worms or crickets were not alive.
"The kids say, `We don't want 'em clean and dead, we want 'em live and gross," Bruce said. "These kids are like young colts, and we want to be supportive and provide some direction without breaking their spirits."