Rainbows at PG????

Prairie Grove is a school that defies all expectations of Arkansas and allows most groups to integrate with one another. Cliques exist, but there is little ground to squabble over. Could it be that nearly all students are of the same race? Could it be that most are born and raised in the same town and know everyone and their parents? Both are most likely a very confident yes. However, Prairie Grove High School is not some sort of High School Nirvana. There are scenes that unfold in these halls that would make any respectful human grimace. 

 

The story unfolds in the art room, 7th hour, of Wednesday. I, as always, was enjoying the usually peaceful environment of the art room. It’s a place of solace and creativity for me. Seventh hour is by far the hardest hour for me to get through though. The kids are difficult and the tensions run high. Enter two troublesome students who seemingly refuse to cooperate with any simple instruction. Be it mask wearing, cleaning up, doing art, or being a decent peer. For now I’ll refer to these kids by aliases. Evan and Jake. 

 

Jake is a student who believes he has ‘street cred’. He uses the N-word like it’s a little known letter of the alphabet. He has a sound cloud and a bitter attitude towards all walks of life. He has called me out before for having a girlfriend and going by Noni. Not to

mention the one time I have ever said in this school that they/them pronouns kind of interest me. Now Evan is a character.  Evan hasn’t turned in a single art work. Evan is a quiet kid, usually as we’ll see, but he is only conscious for a quarter of most classes.  In total, they are not teacher pets.

 

Now for the story to begin truly.

 

I’m sitting, working on some Valentines decorations for the classroom, when Jake gets up and heads to Evans table. Nothing new. Then Jake says the hard R. And Evan repeats him. And it begins a sort of game. Now I, not looking for any conflict, choose to ignore this neanderthal behavior. But it progresses to truly unsavory territory. They bring in a student of color. I get up with the simple explanation that I needed a ‘bigger’ brush. I let the teacher know that the kids are being idiots and head back to my seat. I was met with the jeers that I too said that awful word. They begin chanting it like they’ve been stranded on an island with no adults and have killed wild hogs.

 

I tell The teacher in a very private manner that these kids are using hate speech …In front of everyone basically because I was not about to take it lightly and politely.  The kids are obviously sent to the office, the two cussing out Allred and I. Us both being sensitive snowflakes and liberals who can’t take a joke.

 

Upon entering the office they are met with Mitch. Coach Cameron to most. Coach tells the ignorant boys to call their parents and explain to them why they have gotten ISS. Jake goes as normal ( as the office is his stomping grounds) and Evan simply tells his mother, “The rainbow is being sensitive.” 

 

The reason I chose to write this story is due to that one sentence. I am known to children and adults as the rainbow of Prairie Grove High. I have lost my academic standing, my volunteer work, my artistic abilities, my whole character to my sexuality. I know my life will be different than most, although I wouldn’t say harder, but God. That hurt. I cried for a better part of 2 hours when Ms.Allred told me what he said to his parents.(He got in trouble for that as well) This is a child, raised by ignorance and hatred, that spills that very same poison from his lips. His parents created this monstrosity. And they too draw their lips back and snarl at me. Metaphorically of course, but it still stands. I am appalled by their lack of parenting and even more hurt that they stood by their child’s actions and their words.

 

This kid has told his parents about me enough that I am simply ‘rainbow’.

 

I know I am more than a queer student. But being referred to as a ‘rainbow’ breaks down whatever confidence I had built up. It’s sophomore year all over again. I am nothing but my sexuality and it hurts. I curled up on the art closet floor and sobbed. I should be stronger, I know. I fought my own flesh and blood for the right to love. Why does this stranger and his parents affect me so? Why did his words sting the most out of anyone’s? I would love not to be this way, but I’ve made peace with the fact that I am. It still sucks to be known as your biggest flaw. But I’ll be okay. Because writing about it while getting mad is free therapy.