High school student expelled for writing controversial story in private journal

In high school, for a creative writing class, I wrote a story about a girl who burned down her school. Well past midnight, she carried a can of kerosene to the grounds and set the building on fire. Then she drove away, listening to Def Leppard’s Pyromania.

Was this story evidence of years of therapy to come? Possibly. Was it stupid of me to turn it in for a class assignment? Undoubtedly. Was it understandable even then, pre-Columbine, that my teacher would pull me aside to ask if everything was “okay at home”? Sure.

“Of course I don’t want to burn down the school,” I said. “And I don’t even like Def Leppard.” (Sadly, only the first part of this disclaimer was true.)

If I’d written the same story today, I might well have been kicked out of school.

Rachel Boim, a fourteen-year-old freshman at Roswell High School (in the Atlanta area), recently wrote a short story in her journal about a student who dreams she has killed a teacher. Boim was expelled because of it. The expulsion has since been rescinded, but could be reinstated at a school board hearing on November 13.

Megan Sexton of Five Points is asking writers and others to send mail in support of Boim before the hearing. Letters should be addressed to: Michael Vanairsdale, Superintendent of Fulton County Schools, 786 Cleveland Ave. SW, Atlanta, GA 30315.

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