Milt Habeck's oldest daughter Frances learned a hard lesson.
While volunteering at Oak Creek Assembly of God Church in early January, the 12-year-old was charged with caring for an autistic boy. The child became agitated. Frances tried to console him by giving the lad a supportive hug, which only served to further unsettle him.
In his wheelchair, the boy had a Water Snake Wiggly, a stress-relieving toy filled with liquid that kids can use when they get fidgety.
When the youngster "manipulated the toy," according to Milt, he quickly calmed down.
The moment proved to be an epiphany for Frances. She did some research and discovered she could buy the toys for 99 cents a pop. She would spread calmness to the masses and become a millionaire at the same time by selling the water snake toys to classmates for $2 each.
Frances bought a couple dozen and started retailing them at Trinity Lutheran in Racine, Wisconsin, the school Milt's three kids attend. Her homeroom teacher gave her, a budding entrepreneur, license to sell as long as it was done outside learning hours.
The items were a hit. She came up on her own new marketing name for the product: Dillys. Frances even donated some of her proceeds back to Oak Creek church.
"That was the brand name they invented," Milt tells City Pages. "Instead of selling the water snake wiggly toy, she and her girlfriends came up with the word 'Dilly.' I liked the name, and thought it worked."
Trinity's principal apparently wouldn't be a fan.
Selling the toys caught the attention of Pamela Amling. According to a February 9 incident report filed by the Trinity Lutheran principal, Amling searched Frances' locker and found a box. Inside was a list of classmates who were to receive the wares. The box was marked with the word "Dillys."
According to Milt, that pushed a button inside the principal.
"She interpreted the word to mean dildos," he says.
Amling beelined it for the high school gym. Frances was about to play in a basketball game. She pulled the sixth grader aside, telling her she wouldn't be participating. According to Frances, Amling said she was being suspended for selling toys in school. And not just any kind of toys. Frances says the principal told her, "The toy you are selling is a sexual toy."
Whoa, said Frances' mom Monica, who was nearby. What are you talking about? she demanded of Amling.
The exchange between the women became heated. Various people at the high school that night reported hearing Amling say that Frances had been caught selling "sex toys."
Two months later, Milt is still on fire about Frances' one-day suspension. His family has arranged for a new school come fall. Up until the episode, he says his kids' experiences at Trinity had been positive.
"This is an example where the principal didn't think," he says. "She didn't connect her mind with her mouth."
Trinity's Rev. David Gehne declined comment for this story and referred City Pages to the school's Wednesday press release, which, in part, states, "We have never asserted that the 'water snake' toy is a sex toy."
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