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How To Not Get Busted for Being a Kid 

A few practical tips for high school and junior high students in the age of adult paranoia and lunacy

Don't wear your trenchcoat (or any other long black coat that might be mistaken as such) to school, or anywhere else, no matter what. You could be mistaken as part of the "Trenchcoat Mafia," which the mainstream media has wrongly identified as a covert national group.

Don't forget to protect all your books with covers provided by Coca-Cola, District 11's official soda sponsor. Last year, they gave kids computer mousepads; this year's "Welcome Back to School" gift is a shiny Coke-logo-emblazoned book cover that tells you how you, a student, should behave. (For example, the Coca-Cola/D-11 "menu" of what constitutes doing a good job as a learner includes: "Ask for help in a calm way when feeling frustrated." "Wait patiently if help isn't immediately available." "Have necessary supplies." "Have necessary materials out and ready." Remember to read these, and all the other handy guidelines, at least once a day.)

Don't be seen standing in a group talking with two or more other students. Your similar outfits, speech or hairdos could be identified by police as the official definition of a gang member. Cops could then take your photograph and your fingerprints and enter that information into their statewide gang-identification if they suspect you of committing crimes for years afterward. Official District 11 school board policy states: "Students who engage in behavior or adopt dress style or personal appearance suggestive of gang membership may not only endanger the welfare and safety of other students but may themselves become victims of delinquent criminal or anti-social conduct."

Don't be truant. Ditching class could lead to suspension from school, or even expulsion. But that would mean you don't have to attend class. ... Hmmmmm. Oh well, it's a vicious circle -- don't get caught in this trap.

Do make sure to always wear your Student Identification Badge. If you fail to have the identification badge showing at any time, you will be apprehended and possibly suspended from school. Do not attach your roach clip to the chain that holds your student ID.

Do not cuss in school. Freedom of speech does not apply to students.

Do not write any newspaper articles about being gay, lesbian or different from "normal white kids." This could lead to Will Perkins or Ed Bircham slandering you on the Chuck Baker radio show, or even Focus on the Family President James Dobson calling you perverted on his internationally-syndicated radio program.

Do not put any bumper stickers on your car. The police might believe this gives them probable cause to harass you and search your vehicle.

Do pretend to closely read the Ten Commandments that are posted at your school every day. This will make authorities believe that you are squeaky clean. Suspend all judgment or strong feelings you may have about separation of church and state, despite what your government teacher taught you last year.

Do pray around the flagpole! Every day!

Eat fast food. Only deviants and vegetarians drink milk and eat healthy food.

Pray in class. Loudly. Argue against evolution when your biology teacher brings it up. You know much, much more than the teacher. Prove it.

Do not hold hands with, hug, kiss or show any affection whatsoever to your girlfriend, boyfriend or friends. If you exhibit such public displays, then your deviant behavior will land you on the school social worker's, psychologist's or counselor's couch for analysis.

Do not have any fun whatsoever within a month prior to your graduation. Specifically, do not falsely accuse a district employee of child abuse, don't damage anyone's personal property, don't use fireworks or extort money out of anyone. If the school finds your folly offensive, then you will be excluded from graduation ceremonies.

Don't bother with a pager, cell phone or headphones. Authorities will target you as a drug dealer, a drug addict or a subversive. If your beeper goes off in class, duck for cover immediately.

Do not store anything in your locker. The school claims that the lockers belong to them -- they are their property. Yet if anything is stolen out of them, it's not their problem. You have to keep your locker very clean, or you will be very sorry.

Do not socialize in the bathrooms. Used to be the big no-no was smoking in bathrooms. Now, you are not even supposed to eat in there or use the facilities as "a place for social gatherings." If someone is lingering there and looks as if she might want to talk to you, turn away and step through the door promptly. Do not linger.

Don't wear white makeup on your face or black lipstick. Leave your Marilyn Manson CDs at home. If you are caught with such subversive stuff, you will immediately be hassled by the authorities and quite possibly searched for weapons or contraband.

No skateboards. Even if you thought about using them for transportation to and from school, don't. They will be confiscated, and your parents notified. You will also have to endure a major lecture from the principal on the potential property damage that skateboards may inflict on the school, and he may actually be forced to temporarily emerge from his office.

Do not attempt to check library books out of the library without first notifying your parents exactly what subversive literature you are interested in reading. If you attempt to engage in freedom to choose which library books you read, be prepared to be prosecuted to the fullest extent. This is especially true in Harrison District 2, where several middle-school girls were busted last year for reading a library book about witchcraft.

If you are producing, directing or acting in a video for a classroom project, stick to pretty mountain scenes and baby animals. A re-creation of the Civil War or a documentary about heroin addiction might give your classmates evil ideas and, worse, might label you as subversive or perverted or God knows what.

Just say no to the Internet. There are just too many possibilities that you could accidentally come across a site that might teach you how to build a bomb.

Destroy all of your Pokemon paraphernalia. While you are destroying them (preferably with a blowtorch), loudly chant "Burn It! Burn It! Chop It Up! Chop It Up!"

Do not use hand gestures. Keep your hands in your pockets. Talking with your hands merely invites people to assume you are making gang signs.

Even if it's the weekend and you are 100 miles away from school, do not act rashly or do anything a kid might do. Remember: Big Brother Is Always Watching You and You Could Still Be Apprehended and Punished by the School Authorities.

Do not cast sidelong glances. Just keep your head straight as you walk down the halls. Don't smile too broadly -- that will arouse suspicion. But don't grimace, either. That will also arouse suspicion. Just keep thinking, "I am happy. I am happy." The nightmare will end eventually.

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