Shelf Life Community Story Project
Amplifying community voices, learning from neighborhood stories, and interrupting narratives of erasure in Seattle's Central District.

You Can't Just Kick Them Out

Mark Cook

Photo by Jill Freidberg

Photo by Jill Freidberg


I broke a window in high school. I went to Queen Anne high school, and I had a lot of change out of my piggy bank, heavy stuff. So I went to the cashier in the mess hall. The mess hall, I mean the cafeteria. And I asked the girl there, who was a student, I said, "Can you change this to cash for me?" And she said, "Sure!" And one of the adult supervisors came along and said, "No! You don't do nothing for those kind of people." And I just blew it. We had milk bottles made out of glass those days, and I just took it and threw it, and it happened to go through a window, this is on the third floor. And so they kicked me out of school. I waited for my buddy to get out of school to go home with me. I was looking at the trophy glass, and the principal said, "You have to leave now." I got mad and kicked the glass. I broke that too. I was just kicking because I was mad. Same with the bottle through the window. 

It helped me to understand nowadays how they're treating kids, how they're suspending them and stuff. You gotta talk to them. You can't just kick them out. You gotta talk to them, find out what the problems are.

But anyways, I went home and told my mother. I was about 17 years old. I told her what I did, and I said, " I want to go into the air force. I need your permission, and I'll pay for everything." And she said, "Sure, it's fine with me." Well, the morning I woke up, two Seattle police officers were there. They arrested me for third degree assault. The judge would not put me back in the juvenile training school. He sent me to Northern State Hospital, I think it was, for observation. They said nothing was wrong with me. I had the papers when I came back. But the judge sent me for an indefinite commitment in there. Indefinite commitment. I mean you could be there for the rest of your life, and that is a scary place. So that's what I went to the hospital for.