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hidden treasures

March 25, 2012

So, recently, I’ve been going through some old stuff at my parent’s house, and I’ve been finding all kinds of hidden treasures. Today, I found a copy of the December 1995 edition of my high school’s newspaper, The Panther Press, in which I wrote a guest editorial criticizing what I felt to be unfair treatment by the staff:

CLHS Staff Treats Some Like Second-Class Students
By Jason Merritt

It’s just my opinion, but I believe the staff at Center Line treats a number of students unfairly. I am one of them, in particular. Just because I have long hair, a different style of clothes, and a slightly different view on life, they see me as a second-class student.

I am surprised at their lack of open-mindedness. Teachers don’t regard me as a normal student, but they assume I must be a trouble-maker just by the way I look.

I am not the most perfect student, but, if you asked, most people will tell you that I am quiet and usually do my work. (On some occasions, I do slack off, however.) When the teachers talk to me, they sound as if I’m a waste of time.

The rules are also unfair to me. I wear clothes that I can afford, fit well, and appeal to my tastes. Normally, that is not a problem…except here. My shirts, my pants, even my way of life is inappropriate. I have to turn my shirts inside out and look like a total idiot.

What? A hole in my pants? Well, there’s a two-mile walk to change them, and another two-mile trot back–four miles because of a hole? Do you want to know what the administration’s view was? They don’t care! Gee, that’s nice.

I though the goal of the school was to worry about the student’s education, to prepare them for life, so that they will be successful, not to make their loves hell by constantly being like a communist regime, telling us what we can wear, say, and how to act. That’s our parent’s job. Why does the school have to interfere with that?

Shirts–Why must we change or turn them inside-out? Because they are inappropriate? What does it matter; it is a free country…I thought. If you believe in God, you can wear a cross or a big, “I love Jesus” shirt, but if a skull or the word Satan appears, you are automatically scum.

The reason I heard was, “Christianity is a viable religion.” So is Satanism. If you have any doubts, look up the Constitution and find the part that states: We the people have freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and all those other good things.

Plus, I thought the law about separation of church and state made it illegal for a school to impose a religious belief on a student, which makes it by law none of their business.

So, what is the problem? A skull is supposed to symbolize death. (I thought it just looked good on a shirt.) So, everything symbolizes death; we all are going to die sometime. Are they just trying to forget that?

This school would be a lot better off if they left it up to us to run our own lives; I don’t need help to fix what isn’t broken. So, to the staff of Center Line, I would like to say, “Get your own life, and stop messing with mine.”

Part of me cringes at some of the grammar and language, not to mention my naive invocation of the Constitution, but part of me is proud for at least having the courage to publicly express my feelings and challenge what I felt to be discriminatory treatment, knowing that it’d only make the powers that be single me out even further. Reminds me of the comment left on one of my kindergarten report cards: “Occasionally, Jason misbehaves, or will not respond to authority.”

On a lighter note, I also found a copy of the June 1996 edition of The Panther Press. For my “Where We’ll Be In 2006” entry, which they did for all the seniors that year, they wrote: “Jason Merritt sells babies to the black market and is finally caught and serves time on planet Dune with his cell mate, a guy named Lucy.”


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