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15 May 2011 @ 11:39 am
An apology to Lewinsville students of 1979-1981  
Recently, I was reminded of stupid crap I did in elementary school.

Grade: 5th
Incident: Accused of starting a religious war
What really happened:
It was 5th grade recess. As my father was an atheist and my mother an agnostic, I was not brought up with religion. I was not aware of the Bible beyond a few of the basic themes, like God hates people and tortures them, Noah had that ark thing, Moses freed some slaves from Egypt, and theres a devil somewhere. But my father called religion "the opiate of the masses," and said it was dumb. So when a fellow student told me God was real and I'd go to hell if I didn't worship him and Jesus, I asked him how he knew God was real. I also asked him why God hadn't defeated the devil, and if that meant the devil was more powerful. You know, superhero mentality. So this sucked in a few more students, and there were three sides: those who believed in God, me, and a bunch of bystanders who wanted to see me go up in flames (I guess) or how it would pan out as they had some doubts as well.

The repercussions:
Some teachers got involved, and I was taken to the principal, Mr. Doub. I got a lecture about challenging God, but I was not actually told I'd go to hell. My mother was called to come pick me up for inciting kids to fight, although no fighting seemed to take place. My mother wasn't allowed to drive (because of her drinking), so she had to get a cab to pick me up from school. I was told that discussing religion was inappropriate because is was disrespectful to their beliefs.

My apologies to:
The students who I unsteadied their beliefs with my smarmy comments pointing out what I considered (at age 11) to be proof believing God had no logical reasoning.

Grade: 5th
Incident: Accused of trying to kill Garth Clarke
What really happened:
I threw a rock at Garth's head because I was sick of his pathological lying. Garth went down like a shot and claimed he was bleeding. When I was told of the seriousness of this act, and I'd probably be expelled, I told Mr. Doub, "Good, go ahead and kill me, I don't want to live anyway." I told him that he could claim it was self defense, there was no one in the room but me and him and with me dead, they'd believe him. I scooted a pair of scissors across the desk as told him I wouldn't struggle or anything. Then I just wept. This shocked him to silence, and after he stared me down in disbelief, he told me to go sit outside and calm down and everything would be fine.

The repercussions:
Detention. My parents were unavailable to answer the phone (mother drunk, father out of town). So they kept me after school on a bench in front of the nurse's office while Garth was "bandaged up." I walked home. Mr. Doub did not speak to me for a while. My parents never knew.

My apologies to: Garth Clarke and Mr. Doub. I was having a bad home life, and both acts were really inappropriate.

Grade: 6th
Incident: Accused of making fun of the son of an Iranian hostage
What really happened:
There was a kid, I forgot his name, let's say "Jim." Jim's dad was a hostage in Iran. Jim was taking his dad's kidnapping a little too well, and had a real swelled head about it. He seemed to be dropping this fact over and over again into every conversation like he was boasting about it. Eventually, a bunch of us got tired of this, but we didn't say anything. Then, at recess one day, I asked Jim (who wanted the only non-semi-flat kickball and again dropped the fact we should do it because his dad was a hostage in Iran) what his dad was doing in Iran to get kidnapped. He didn't know. He said his dad was walking down the street and got kidnapped. I said the news said everyone who was kidnapped was in the same building, the American embassy. Jim took this discussion as an insult, so he told on me to the playground monitor by bursting into tears and accusing me of telling him he was making it up.

The overhearing kids gasped, and I was rushed back to Mr. Doub, who called my mother again. My mother was a little drunk, so she sent a neighbor (Mrs. Wickland) to pick me up. Once she heard my side of the story, she just repeated that "this whole Iranian thing is making America paranoid. It's tearing the country apart, making people racist, and it's best you never talk about it because people will use you as an example or something."

The repercussions:
Other students thought I was a monster.

My apologies to:
The kid whose dad eventually got released. I know you were hurting and dealing with it the best way your could.

Grade: 6th
Incident: Accused of distributing pornography.
What really happened:
My parents, upset that the school's new sex ed program was woefully antiquated and uninformative, took me to the local library and let me check out any book I wanted. One of them was "Changing Bodies, Changing Lives," by the same folks who did the award winning book, "Our Bodies, Ourselves", the Boston Women's Health Book Collective. In this edition, they had frank discussion to teens about sex, puberty, and tough decisions about abstinence and contraception. They openly, even "flagrantly," discussed homosexuality, abortion, drug use, and the new mysterious disease called "AIDS."

I brought this book to school because a kid named Eric tried to convince me that women had teeth in their vagina, and I said that was stupid and had proof he was wrong. This book drew kids like a magnet, who had never seen pencil drawings of nude girls before. A teacher named Mr. Cook found out, took the book from me, and I was dragged to the office with the book. I was apparently supposed to feel ashamed. My only concern was they would take the book from me, and I'd be arrested by the "library police" (or whatever) for losing it.

The repercussions:
Pointing out the book was a library book anyone could just borrow from the library, and "see the sticker on the spine??" did not help my case. Mr. Doub said I could be arrested and thrown in jail for corruption of minors. This was pornography, plain and simple, and I would probably be expelled. I burst into tears. My mother was called, and she had to pick me and the book up as proof of my misdeeds. I was suspended from school for three days. My mother, who didn't seem angry at me at all, told me, "some parents would prefer their kids learned about sex by trial and error. I am not one of them, although in the future do not attempt to sway these kids. Some parents don't want their kids to know about sex," she said, "and like it or not, we have to respect that."

Later, I became THE go-to guy for anything sexually related. I was watched like a fucking hawk by teachers, though.

My apologies to: Any kid traumatized by seeing pencil drawings of nude teens and pre-teens or anyone discussing sex.

Grade: 6th
Incident: Again with the religious thing!
What really happened:
Weeks following the sex book thing, and with the Iranian incident thing fresh on teacher's minds, they watched me like a hawk on the playground. I was labeled a troublemaker, and often I was asked what I was doing or talking about. Thus, they were trigger happy for anything I might have said, taken out of context.

At one point, I was talking about the separation of church and state, which we had been learning about with the First Amendment to the United States Constitution in class. It started when a very religious girl said God was personally advising the president, and then a fight with her and another girl started whether this meant he was more famous than the Pope. I said that (the argument) was crazy. They accused me of saying, "those who believe in God are crazy," which I actually did think but I didn't actually SAY that. I was dragged to Mr. Doub again, who was really tired of dealing with me at this point.

This time when they called my mom, she was too drunk to answer the phone. So my dad was called, at work, which infuriated him, and said, "NO I AM NOT PICKING HIM UP. HE CAN WALK HOME, OR YOU CAN KEEP HIM! [click]" They kept me after school, but after they determined that my dad was not bluffing, they got a volunteer (a friend of mine's mom who worked in the school office) to drive me home. Thanks Mrs. Carlton, for being nice to me.

The repercussions:
My dad never brought it up and my mother never knew. This sealed in my stigma as "that Larson boy," and in 1987 when I got a copy of my school records, I noticed in this incident that a few teachers had suggested things much be going bad at home for me to "act out in these ways." The principal also made a note that my parents were "difficult and unresponsive to the school's pressing concerns about appropriate discussions among his peers."

My apologies to: The same people I apologized to about God in the 5th grade incident.

And to Mr. Doub, for all of this. He was never really mean to me, and he always seemed a little unable to deal with me.
shuttergalshuttergal on May 15th, 2011 06:10 pm (UTC)
Man, I missed all of that. Where was I? Oh, just keeping my head down. Or I have burne most of that time from my mind. Both... I'm going both.
kaiotte on May 18th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
Sorry for long and rambly.
I feel uncomfortable with the first one, because I think every Christian, hell, every religious person should reflect on their own beliefs. And if they come across something they're not ready for such as God not having logical proof, then they go to their religion. A religion automatically has a group of folks. I know I was asking similar questions at that age. Although I didn't ask them too much out loud. And coming from a Catholic to fellow Catholics is a bit different.... Nonetheless, I'm glad that they got a little shaken. Random Bible Trivia: Jesus tells a story about how your faith needs to be able to handle some shaking.
kaiotte on May 18th, 2011 03:48 pm (UTC)
Re: Sorry for long and rambly.
oh, and that poor principle. I feel like him and you were the real victims in all these incidences. (And "Jim." I'll give you him too. Not that you need my permission on who to feel sorry for or whom to feel you've wronged.)