Monday, April 22, 2013

The Ladies

Perspective: Lecture hall
Photo credit: al-taqi
By now you've probably heard of Katelyn Campbell, the West Virginia high school senior who refused to attend an abstinence-only lecture at her school. Her principal threatened to contact her chosen college to tell them she was a trouble-maker, the ACLU and the wonderful world of the internets got involved and the principal now looks like an even bigger ass than when he did when he thought up this bullshit mandatory lecture in the first place.

It got me thinking of a certain assembly at my high school in my junior year. I was taking an Advanced Placement Biology test (during the second period of a two-period class), when we hear over the loudspeakers, "Will all the ladies report to Kingsman Hall?" We all looked up at the teacher, who said, "I won't tell if you don't," and we went back to our test. 

In 4 years, this was the only assembly where they didn't give us any advanced warning. They had special schedules - C days, D days, etc. that had a block of time for an assembly and shortened all the other periods accordingly. So we'd know about these things days in advance, and no one was ever expected to miss a test or a class for a pep rally, or whatever. My AP Bio teacher clearly hadn't expected this announcement. So this was exceedingly weird.

I finished the test before the end of the period and went to the library because I didn't want to go to the assembly late and explain about the test. Also, the whole thing sounded like bullshit anyway.

The period ended, and I proceeded to my Latin class. It was the optional third year of Latin, so the entire class was 9 guys and me. There were still no girls in the hallways as the classes changed. I was stopped two, maybe three times by teachers asking why I wasn't in the assembly. Each time, I answered, "I was taking a test," brazen as you please and they let me go on my way. No detention, no sending me down to the assembly. Nothing. 

Which is good because I was not going to be the only person missing Latin class because of some mysterious summoning of every student with two X chromosomes. I was nowhere near the rabble rouser I wish I was back then, but I was not about to let arbitrary nonsense come between me and keeping up with the boys. 

Later on, I asked my friends what the hell the assembly was about. The administration wanted to yell at us about dress code violations and making out in the hallways with our boyfriends. Because apparently the guys had no responsibility in the making out incidents.

Inappropriate behavior on the part of the students? Arguably. Inappropriate to only call out the female portion of the student body? Definitely. Expecting them to miss classes and exams to listen to this nonsense? Idiotic.

Doing so while the baseball coach is sexually abusing members of his team? Reprehensible.

And yes, I think it will always come down to that for me. Because we were subjected to a lot of stupid shit at my high school. And now that I know how much the school administration didn't have its own house in order, so many of the rules seem even more stupid and arbitrary. 

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