My school was under the impression that I was going to bomb the school. It was a few days after the Columbine shooting. There were rumors around the school that Wednesday. Everyone was running around with panic-stricken faces, talking about how they were going to skip school on Wednesday because they didn't want to be shot. Now everyone and their father should know that this is the oldest trick in the book. You start some BS rumor so no one comes to school. It's a classic. I laughed at it. No one at my school really had the capacity to do something like this, and if they did, they sure as hell wouldn't be flaunting it around the school. Why would you do that?

So, like expected, they called an assembly the day before Wednesday to try to clarify the status of these rumors. Some I had never heard of, one that there was a webpage on the internet saying that there was going to be a shooting at my school. Turns out it started by someone talking about the Columbine coverage on the CNN website.

Then my entire English class started joking about how funny it would be if I were planning to instigate a shooting at my school. Everyone thought this was hilarious. Why? Because I'm quiet and intelligent. I'm alternative. People are intimidated by things like that. I started drawing these fake bomb plans. The things I had labeled were things you don't even put in a bomb. I thought anyone would be able to figure out that this was a damn joke. First off, you don't use 2 inches of notebook paper for a fuse if you're going to list CO2 as one of the ingredients in your bomb. And besides that, where the hell was anyone expecting me to get Plutonium, the storage closet in the chemistry lab?

So my journalism teacher saw it. He was pretty good about it because he's a friend to me. Unfortunately, I was stupid enough to tell a friend of mine about this incident and she turned me in to the guidance counseler. So I got called in the next day, and I'm not really assuming it has anything to do with those bomb plans, and rather instead I'm thinking it's about the pornographic stories I was printing from the computer lab earlier that morning. So I walk in and there is a guidance counseler, a cop, and one of the vice principals sitting. They want me to take a seat. Something is wrong here. I sit down, and they can't confront me, so they're trying to subtlely hint that I have bomb plans. I admit to it, because if I try to lie, they already have too much proof and witnesses to fuck me over with. So I figure the truth is the best way to go.

Mind you, I still think this is a "stupid reason" to be called in, considering they are going from a rumor and I'm upset about myself even telling my friend this. After I replicate the small bomb plans the best I could, I'm dismissed. I return to class and the school receives a bomb threat. Everyone is saying I'm going to be expelled.

I'll spare all the little details occuring here, and move on to the next day. I get called back in there. The guidance counseler is majorly pissed off at me because I didn't include the map of the school on my replication. It seems they went to the teacher and asked him because they didn't believe me. The funny part is that despite how pissed off she is at me, neither she or the vice principals want to suspend or expel me because I have no discipline record and I am an A student. They're afraid to punish me. So they think that I'm distressed or that I have problems. They hold this against me. I apologize for all the trouble I have been causing. Some of my friends have already been expelled. But not me. They like me. They just think I'm disturbed. They think I'm going to hurt someone if they push me any further. They think I have that strength. After sitting in the guidance counseler's office all morning that Friday, they call my dad and ask him to come in. It's around noon by now. So my dad is trying to save face for me by acting like a "super-good" parent. They search my bookbag and my messenger back looking for something, but they end up finding this mock business card that a friend of mine produced. It listed his address pointing to the house of Charles Manson. The guidance counseler decided that this meant I had anger inside of me. What?! Then, this all spans out to a long discussion about how I'm intelligent and I'll be able to take AP and IB classes next year (which I didn't). It was decided that I should go home for the day, not as a suspension but an early dismissal from school. As I left her office, the guidance counseler looked at me and said, "I'll pray for you, Aimee." My face curled up in disgust. She'll pray for me? I went home and called my friends. My dad explained to me that he had found my bomb plans and threw them away. My family was scared of me. I had to start seeing the guidance counselor on a regular basis because I had some "deep-seated issues." Guess what? I didn't.

I was always a very fast reader, so in 7th grade Reading, I finished the dumb shit they assigned to us in like 10 min, and pulled out my "Vampire Lestat", the little gothic princess that I was becoming... Anyways, the teacher asked me why I wasn't reading the assigned story, I told her I was done, she didn't believe me, I got sent to the office with the words "Caught reading in Reading" on the referral note I was send with.

For the entire duration of my secondary school years, I had to go to PSE lessons (Personal and Social Education). Every year, we covered the same things: sex, drugs, and... no, actually that was it. The sex education became more risqué as time went by, giving it a bit of variety, but the drugs education was the same, year upon year.

For some reason, I tended to listen in these classes, and actually read the leaflets we were bombarded with. Perhaps I had a growing interest in sexual deviancy and drug use, who knows. This made the repeated drugs education very boring.

Then, one day in the fourth year, the lesson was a bit different: there was a guest present, a man from the schools/police liaison unit. He was here to teach us about drugs, show us samples, etc. Same meat, different gravy. For one part of the talk, he had three buckets labelled Class A, Class B and Class C*, and racquetballs with drug names written on in felt pen. The man would hold up a ball, and ask the class which bucket to put it in.

I was bored. I was young. I was arrogant. I decided to be a bit of a smartarse, and basically whipped off all the answers for each ball as soon as he held it up.

Man: "Okay, what about 'Speed'?"
Me: "Chemical name Amphetamine Sulphate. Class B if ingested or inhaled, Class A if injected intravenously."

Anyway, this reduced the length of the drug talk down to about 15 minutes, and we all left early.

On the following Monday, I was asked to go to the Head Of Year's office during registration. I didn't know why, and was a bit worried, as HOY's deal with punishment as well as pastoral care. I came in, and she asked me to sit down. The conversation went something like this:

HOY: "The police liason officer who conducted your PSE lesson last Friday came to see me, after the lesson ended. He was very concerned about how much you knew about drugs. Is there anything you'd like to tell me?"
Me: "What?"
HOY: "He wondered where you got that information... he was worried you might be mixed up in some bad things."
Me: "Jesus Christ! You've been teaching us all this stuff for four years! I actually listen, and I practically get accused of being a junkie."

The interview was rapidly curtailed, and I was set free unto the school with a new tale of management incompetence. With hindsight, I realise she was only doing the standard back-covering exercise that schools have to (see this node), but it still seemed damn stupid at the time.


*The UK drug classification system. Class A drugs are very illegal, Class B drugs are just illegal, Class C drugs are legal, unless obtained through false prescription.
Today. Almost two years after the Columbine shootings, I got called down to see the school psychologist.

You see, the day before, I had written Trojal a note in explanation of my odd behavior at lunch. I had been in a bad mood and took my agression out on a couple of excedingly loud jocks, as well as on him. The note basically said that stuff with my ex-girlfriend was harsh, that Valentine's Day was really gonna suck, and that I had probably failed my chem quiz earlier in the day. No big deal, right?

Pretty much. Although, you see, I had written in parentheses after Valentine's Day, "Massacre Day!" That was a little worrying, school shootings and all that. (Although I really meant it in a historical context.)

The main issue, though, was the lyrics I had written on the outside of the note. I always write lyrics, and this time I had chosen "Prayer to God" by Shellac. Specifically, the part that reads:

Him, just fucking kill him,
I don't care if it hurts.
Yes I do.
I want it to.
Fucking kill him, but first
make him cry like a woman.
No particular woman..

I guess that could upset a few people.

So anyway, Marc lost the note, someone found it, and turned it into the vice principal who decided I needed to talk to the psychologist. Psychologist sees me. Long hair, black jeans, black t-shirt. She sorta freaks out and gives me a lecture how my appearance can contribute to people having a bad impression of me, I tell her that I am happy looking the way I am and people should not judge others. Whatever. At least I missed 20 minutes of class

"Can you sit down, Dan?"

"Sure." I wonder what they called me out of English class for. Was it the copy of the Anarchist Cookbook I had been printing out in the computer lab?

"I hear that you're not reading the assigned reading in your English class. The Red Badge of Courage is a very important book."

"Uhh . . ."

"Now I understand that you might think it is boring. But you need to read what's assigned, not some comic book or whatever you were reading. What were you reading?"

"The Waste Lands. I already finished The Red Badge of Courage." Perhaps this would be a bad time to ask to be moved to the AP class.

"So, how did it end?"

"Did you read it?" I ask him.

"Does it matter?" he responds. I think, He's never . . .

"The main character, a guy named Dante, runs off and joins the other side and ends up killing his brother." He doesn't even blink.

"Okay. Well. What kind of comic is The Waste Lands?"


Of course, this was after the coounselor had betrayed my trust about some depression I had, and ended up telling all my teachers and parents and I had to sit in this group therapy thing where I would make up stories about how I hated life.

I regret both incidents. They were just trying to help. Stupid or no, apathy isn't a happy thing. Too cool to care is depressing.

I couldn't help but add one last incident to this very long list. This happened to a friend of mine but involved me, during our last year of high school (his senior and my junior/senior year..i didn't have a senior year.)

One evening we were talking on the phone, we were both on portable but not cellular phones, in our respective houses. Caleb was in his living room, and kept peeking through the blinds out onto the street outside. The topic of discussion was the cop car that had been parked outside his home for about 4 hours. There was an officer inside, not doing anything we could fathom. When talk and speculation got old, we began discussing the point regimen for killing people. This is a game we often played in high school...for example. Kids are 10 points, adults 20 points. If the person is over weight it's an added 5-10 points, depending on the comic nature of the person and just generally how they look. If they're moving, depending on mode of transportation, you add 10-20 points. Back to the main idea...

About a week after this random, non-specific conversation that for us blended into a series of like conversations between ourselves and others, Caleb got called into his AP's office. This is an honor student, high above average and very, very non confrontational. The only other time he had been sent to the AP was when he refused to say the Pledge of Alligence, a fight he (rightly) won in the end. The thing is, Caleb is one of the few and proud actual punk rock kids that made it out to the small town of Magnolia, TX. His long, spikey hair, septum piercing, bright and often musical clothing, and soft, laid-back manor were just a bit too uncommon for comfort...Thus making him bad in the eyes of the administration. Whatever.

So I was interested in why my closest friend spent close to an hour in the AP's office. It turned out, comically, that the cop sitting outside his house had been monitoring our phone call. (is that legal??!?!?!?) and they were concerned with this "killing people for points" discussion we had been having. Did I get called in? No...probably because my parents were prominent in the small town scene and I was like Caleb, just less obtrusive (I guess...) I didn't have any facial piercings, but I got my own amount of strange looks. Everyone seemed to think I was this feminist-activist really smart weird girl. Whatever...this wasn't a really accurate opinion. Anyway, we found this really funny. Yes, it infringed on our rights, but they couldn't punish us for something totally unrelated to school and probably illegal that they had done. And I was never spoken to about it, so who knows where it would have gone had Caleb been the riotous type...

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