How to Get Suspended and Influence PeopleBook - 2006
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“How to Get Suspended” is the story of Leon Harris, a “gifted and talented” eighth grader who finds himself in the middle of a debate about censorship. Leon’s class is assigned the job of making educational videos for the sixth and seventh grade classes. Leon chooses sex ed, deciding to make an avant-garde film. (“I was sure that if mine was bizarre enough to be considered ‘artsy,’ I could get away with putting just about anything in there,” he reasons.)
Leon’s friend Anna offers to help, at first by bringing him several of her parents’ art books and a copy of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. (“I could tell it was good, because half the time I had no idea what was going on,” Leon says.)
Leon’s project meets with the disapproval of the gifted program director, Mrs. Smollett, and Leon soon becomes a “political prisoner,” thrown into in-school suspension for the “inappropriate” content of his film. Students and teachers rally around him in ways Leon never expected.
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We pulled into the parking lot, and as I was unbuckling my seat belt, he said,"Now, you know what to do if someone offers you drugs, right?"
"Say 'Thank you very much,' " I said. "Even if it's a kind you already have."
He gave me a glare. "It's just because we love you, Leon."
"I know, Dad. See ya!"
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