In October 2015, I left the Maine School of Science and Math and returned to Maranacook to finish my senior year. After two and a half years of being shaped at such a liberal and accepting place as MSSM, I encountered a lot of seemingly weird situations at Maranacook. I needed a pass to leave the room, the teachers were untrusting, my homework seemed bland. But I expected these.

Recently, however, the untrust of the teachers met a new high. At MSSM my friends and I had an ongoing joke about suntanning, because my close friend called herself “sunbaked” when she looked tan.

At Maranacook when I received a paper asking for a quote for my senior yearbook picture, I decided to pay a tribute to my friends up north and chose “sunbaked.” However, the school’s intense fear of drug culture and the distrusting nature of the staff produced this response: my quote was inappropriate and would not be added to the yearbook.

The controversy was apparently caused by the term “baked.” My school took an innocent word that connected me to my friends at MSSM and decided that since I am a teenager, it must be a refernce to substance abuse.

As much as anyone, I understand the need to prevent the promotion of drugs at school. But when a school’s fear runs so deep that they warp a student’s words, they create their own problems. This incident may seem small, but it is an example of how public schools put so much emphasis on societal taboos, to the point where student promotion of them becomes not an act of wanting to do drugs, or have sex, but a matter of rebellion.

Had they said nothing, and allowed this quote through, very few people would have seen the reference they claimed. Instead, they chose to turn this into something more. It’s this kind of unnecessary oppression that draws attention away from the actual drug problem in public schools and makes the issue into a joke.

Haley Taranko


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