I. J. Samson
St. John's, Newfoundland

By Judy F. (Grade 9)

Skaters. Who are they? They're a bunch of punks who drink, do drugs, and cause trouble wherever they go, right?! Wrong.

Sure there are some who drink, some who do drugs, and some who cause trouble, but that doesn't mean that all skaters do these things. For some reason, society has labeled this whole group of teenagers as troublemakers. But can you tell me that there are no jocks or preps who drink, none who do drugs, and none who cause trouble? No, because it's not possible. You're going to get these people in every group of teenagers.

So why has society labeled skaters as the troublemakers? In my opinion it's because society isn't ready to accept people with their own style. If people dress in big clothes and a backwards hat, and don't dress NORMAL, they're going to cause trouble. I've interviewed a friend of mine to see how he feels about the way skaters are dealt with.

Darren [17] is very serious about skateboarding and thinks it's very unfair the way they are treated. I asked Darren how they are dealt with differently than other teenagers and he said, "Whenever I go to a restaurant with some friends we get kicked out after 20 minutes, no matter if we have our purchases gone or not. But it seems as though the people who work in the restaurants judge us by the way we dress because, if we went into one of these restaurants with tight pants, Doc Martins, and v-neck sweaters we wouldn't get kicked out."

With Darren feeling so serious about skateboarding, he hates the fact that wherever he goes, he's discriminated against. "Skateboarding is what I do. If people can't accept me for that it's their problem. I don't care if people don't like me because of this. If they don't like me just because I skateboard, obviously they're idiots. I just wish that people could accept us. I don't understand how people can treat us so badly just for riding down the road on our skateboards. We get fines and tickets for cruisin' down the road on our skateboards, yet there's nothing wrong with rollerblades, bikes or even people playing hockey in the middle of the road."

Just because people look different and do different things doesn't mean they should be discriminated against. I have the same feelings about this as Darren. So the next time you're walking down the street and you see someone skate by, say "Hi". You never know, maybe they'll say "Hi" back.

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