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Posted December 26, 2013 EST

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School Irked By Intercourse Fire Co. Shirt
United States (Pennsylvania) - The tiny crossroads village of Intercourse has had to endure decades of smirks and giggles. And now an incident more than 400 miles away is putting the spotlight on the town's unusual name once again. An elementary school student in North Carolina was forced to remove his Intercourse Fire Company T-shirt, apparently because it was considered vulgar, a television station recently reported.

According to the report from WXII 12, 11-year-old Art Lawrence comes from a family of firefighters, and had received the shirt from an uncle who serves as a firefighter in New Jersey.

When Art wore the shirt to Huntsville Elementary School in Madison, N.C., one day recently, he was asked to change it. His family was not happy with the school's decision, the television station reported.

The report did not mention any connection between Art's family and the fire company.

Intercourse fire Chief Steve Diener said he heard about the incident Tuesday morning from a fellow firefighter at a local coffee shop.

"At least it will be good advertising for the fire company," he said with a chuckle.

Diener didn't know the true intentions of why the 11-year-old wore the shirt to school, but thinks it was probably to get a few laughs.

"We sell a lot of shirts and hats through our website to people all over the country, and I'm pretty sure it's not because they have a connection to the town," he said, adding that he doesn't know the identity of the uncle who bought the shirt.

Diener, who has been fire chief in Intercourse for 23 years, said he doesn't think Lawrence should have worn the shirt to school and said he can see how it would create a distraction.

But, he said, he would feel differently if the incident happened closer to home.

Frank Howe, who was born and raised in Intercourse and is chairman of the Leacock Township board of supervisors, said school administrators may have gone a little too far.

"It's a legitimate name of a town so I'm not sure why the school would be that upset," he said. "But if it interfered with their rules then I guess they have their reasons."

Howe said he understands how people not from the area would take the name out of context.

James H. Zimmerman, another lifetime resident of Intercourse and Leacock Township supervisor, said he doesn't like when people use the name as a source of amusement.

"Knowing that there are people poking fun at it kind of rubs me the wrong way," he said. "I understand how the school would see it as a joke and I might make the same call."

Zimmerman said for those who grow up in the area the name signifies the historic nature of the town, admitting that he didn't recognize it was unusual until he went away to college.

Intercourse was founded in 1754 as Cross Keys.

The town changed its name to Intercourse in 1814. Speculation remains about the origins of the name.

But Howe said it is highly unlikely that the Amish who resided in the town would have had any idea the name would be so controversial almost 200 years later.

"We get some chuckles about it and we try to have fun with it," he said. "It's not something we get offended by or take too seriously."

Written by Intelligencer Journal

Courtesy of NewsEdge
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