There's enough people from “traditional” punk backgrounds that can relate to this story that Jack sent me. Anyway, here it is:

As I posted in the whatever forum - I was expelled 2 times from school based on my appearance alone (memory failed me a bit - I was put in a gym class with the people who did not have the mental or physical capacities to participate in a normal gym class when I refused to remove my lip piercing and humiliated, not expelled) I was expelled and faced weapons charges when I wore a spiked leather collar to school — something I had, up to that point, worn every day. I was also expelled for wearing a "nazi punks fuck off" patch on my jacket. I was accused of being a nazi and forced into sensitivity counseling with a rabbi. My parents were not supportive at all any of these times. It just made me fight harder. I took it upon myself to go to the school board so I could speak with them directly and to the concerned parents and I got myself reinstated. After I left school I promised myself that I would not rest until I was in a position where I was valued to the point that my appearance was not an issue. That was actually something yttrx suggested to someone who was fired from their job over piercings on RAB when I was about 16 and I really took it to heart.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that people in positions of power are always going to be fucked up — they're people after all. I think the trick is to move yourself out of their reach, make yourself better than them, and take as many people with you as you can when you do it. I think that's the thing I admire most about BME is that you really encourage that and you practice what you preach. Growing up I thought I was the only one who was queer or kinky. BME was really the first place where I discovered that wasn't true. Anyway, I'm getting off my soapbox now — I just want to say thank you.

I was lucky. I went to a good school, so my problem was just my parents. No one at school ever commented on how I dressed — if anything my eccentricity was encouraged. The one time I got really “out of hand” by publishing an anti-administration newspaper, the vice principal took for for a walk across the street. He pointed at a set of cheap buildings going up across the street. In front of them was a large — but also cheap — sign that said, “Sunrise Christian Academy”.

“Shannon, I agree with most of what you've written. I think you bring up some good points. But you have to consider the results of your actions and whether they'll achieve what you're trying to achieve. Ask yourself; when parents see this, will they help you fix these problems, or will they just send their kids to Sunrise and make it even harder for us to correct these issues?”

I repeat that story often because (a) I think it's important to view things on this level sometimes, and (b) because I want to illustrate that most teachers and school administrators do care about their students, and don't want to repress them in any way. I don't know where the source of that problem stems. I can only assume it comes back to “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”, that is, small groups of parents yelling hard to force through their agenda.

PS. We wish you a merry Christmas.

On the computer front, I stripped out some of the flakier components from this machine (the DV editing board), and so far its stable. Now, it would really suck if that's the piece of hardware that's problematic. I've already replaced it once, and it's not a cheap piece of hardware… Hopefully it's still under warranty.

Wow Shannon, that's really annoying! What is it, 1997 on Geocities? Retroweb is NOT cool!

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