When unwanted questions drove us out of school, Nova welcomed us

Crossposted from KUOW

For some students, going to school means unwelcome questions. Questions about their identity, their sexuality, or the way they act.

This can force some people to avoid school or even drop out.I found a better alternative by transferring to Nova High School last year as a freshman.

[Ed.note: We will be using the students’ first names and last initials to protect their privacy.]

I spoke with Mimi H, a recent Nova graduate, about her experience.

Mimi told me that she struggled in a traditional school setting. Her peers’ comments about her appearance made her dread going to school.

“I really stuck out like a sore thumb,” she told me. “As being someone queer, very alternative … neon blue hair and dark makeup and platform Docs.”

My experience was similar, except I faced other students’ invasive questions about being transgender. In middle school, people would always ask me why I was trans, or what was in my pants, or if I was going to get surgery. It was tiring.

Sorry, but that’s none of your business!

Even though Mimi and I went to different schools, we both felt like we weren’t accepted.

Mimi also had difficulties with the teachers and staff. She was struggling with her mental health and had self-harm scars on her arm. The school counselor noticed — but not in a good way.

“The guidance counselor comes up to me in the hallway and is like, cover your sleeves because you can’t have that here or else you just have to go home,” Mimi said. So she decided, “Okay, I’ll leave.”

“I didn’t go for the rest of the school year,” she said. “I thought I was never going to succeed in high school, or even finish my freshman year.”

My issues were mostly with the other students. My friends thought it was funny to insult me and call me slurs.

Eventually, I dropped out of eighth grade and began taking online classes.

After being out of school for awhile, both Mimi and I began attending Nova High School, an alternative high school.

Things were completely different there.

Continue to read more here.

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