FORKS, Wash. — About a dozen students were suspended Tuesday at Forks High School for wearing T-shirts with the name of the 1970s punk rock band Sex Pistols.
The superintendent, Diana Reaume, says students caused a disruption by handing out the shirts just before classes started.
One student, Devin Chastain, who was student body president last year, told The Peninsula Daily News it was a demonstration to support a student who wore a Sex Pistols T-shirt on Monday and was told to change.
“Sex Pistols is not a sexual innuendo. It’s homage to an important band.”
–Devin Chastain, suspended student, Forks High School, Forks, WA.
While discussing this story with some friends, a girlfriend said that she found it ironic that the people suspending these kids were probably people like us that loved the Sex Pistols when we were their age. And I don’t doubt that at all. But what she doesn’t realize and what Devon Chastain doesn’t realize is that getting suspended was the perfect end result of wearing a Sex Pistols t-shirt to school.
Punk—which started as a rebellion against conventional rock-n-roll and fashion, roughly 36 years ago—has been far too safe for far too long now. Just because a kid is wearing skinny jeans and a flannel doesn’t mean he likes the new No Age record (or even knows that No Age is a thing that exists,) it just means that that’s what they were selling at J.C. Penny’s going back to school sale. Case in point: look at these kids.
|Pic taken from Komo News.com|
See anything threatening about them? Nope, me either. Put yourself in the shoes of one of their peers and the answer is still no. Let’s say you’re the on the football team. Do you wanna kick that guy in the earflap beanie’s ass? No, probably not. You wanna know why? Because he’s your quarterback. That’s just how the kids dress these days. The only thing that differentiates these guys from the normies is that they stenciled Sex Pistols on their v-necks.
If you’ve seen Social Distortion in oh, say, the last hundred years, you’ve heard Mike Ness give the same old tired speech about how “In my day if you were going to have green hair, eyeliner and wear a Sex Pistols shirt you had to know how to use your fists ‘cuz someone was going to try to kick your ass.” And as exhausted and misguided (especially to an audience that paid thirty+ dollars to see you) as that speech is, he’s absolutely right. Punk is supposed to be special. It's not supposed to be normal. Kids shouldn’t get to attempt punk without some consequences—you know, something to legitimize it.
I’m not saying anyone should get beat up for the way they dress. In the grand scheme of life, a school suspension is not that big of a deal, really. But to a bunch of kids that made their own Sex Pistols t-shirts because they saw K-Stew do it as Joan Jett in The Runaways, a school suspension is the perfect thing to authenticate it. Devin Chastain and her peers made a rad statement. But it wouldn't have been half as rad if Dian Reaume didn't hold up her end of the deal as the authority figure. This way it works out for everybody.
And for us elders, well, we are reminded that the Sex Pistols, and in a larger sense—punk, is still relevant.
And that warms our little old hearts.