Late last April, the third and fourth grade classes from a Jewish day school in suburban Cleveland traveled to Ohio's state capitol to participate in a commemoration of the Holocaust and see their government in action.
About 35 students, a handful of teachers, and others were sitting in a private room off the Senate chamber, known as the "Senate smoker," when young Franklin Hartman sunk back into a thick leather sofa used by state senators for, among other things, meeting with lobbyists and staff. His hand slipped down behind a cushion and, much to the embarrassment of all in the room, the fourth-grader came up with two pairs of women's underwear, one white, one pink.
"It wasn't on purpose," says Hartman.
"It really was hysterical," admits his flustered principal, Alana Sebo of Agnon School.
'I didn't see the panties, but about a half an hour after the incident, I was told about it by the teachers," says the state representative from Cleveland, Lee Fisher. "There was dismay in part, and part amusement." Fisher says he isn't embarrassed about it because, "I'm not in the Senate," though he's running for a state senate seat this fall.
The evidence was quickly recovered by a teacher and stuffed into a purse, but it was the talk of the field trip. Principal Sebo jokingly fears her school will never be invited to the capitol again, though Fisher says she doesn't have to worry about that. And Franklin Hartman says he is not sure how such articles of clothing might wind up in a state senate sofa, "but I have an idea."