Katie Sierra is a 15-year-old anarchist who lives in Sissonville, West Virginia. She recently made international news after her high school suspended her for wearing a t-shirt critical of the war in Afghanistan, as well as for her efforts in organizing a student anarchy club at the school. Her legal protest of the school's decision was turned down by the courts. There is an international effort to support her and her fight against the school.
Infoshop.org: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Katie Sierra: Let's see..my name is Katie. I am a former student from Sissonville High School. I'm a 15-year-old 10th grader. In my spare time I go to shows, read, and write poetry.
Infoshop: Why did you get suspended from your high school?
KS: I was suspended for wearing a t-shirt that spoke of political views. Also, for having possession of the flyers in my purse.
Infoshop: What did your T-shirt say?
KS: Well, there's more than one. The one I got suspended for said "Racism, Sexism, Homophobia..I'm so proud of the people in the land of the so called "Free". Then the next week after my principal allowed me to wear them again...and then made me take it off again said "When I saw the dead and dying Afghani children on TV, I felt a newly recovered sense of national security. God Bless America."
Infoshop: What happened in court?
KS: Besides staring at Mr. Mann's strange comb-over and missing thumb lol. I didn't win. I don't really know why. At least everything I said was factual, but everything Mann said was opinion or hearsay.
Infoshop: Are you appealing the judge's decision?
KS: Yes, we'll be going to court uhhh...Jan. 25. State Supreme turned it down...but I'm not giving up!
How do you feel about the authorities telling you that you have no rights?
KS: It makes me feel like total crap. I mean I think it's crazy. Everyone else in that school can say how they feel towards certain things, unless you have something no one agrees with. I just don't think that is fair. If I could go back to school for a day. I think I'd probably. wear duck tape over my mouth with "I have no rights" printed on the front. lol I think that might be quite humorous.
Why did you decide to start an anarchy club? Are other students interested in joining it?
KS: I think we were pretty much a group already. I mean I know we were a group. At the time we didn't have a name. And there isn't anything for us to join at SHS. So I was thinking since we are all interesting in Anarchy and whatnot things it would be a good idea. I read about it on Infoshop...that's how the idea popped into my head. Yeah, there was about 15-20 people who wanted to join.
If your club existed, what kind of projects would the club be working on?
KS: It was mostly for us to learn and discuss things. We had somewhat started a zine--it isn't really finished. We were going to work in some soup kitchens on the weekend. Just a lot of different things. Have people come speak. Possibly a Food not Bombs group.
Tell us about the zine you were working on?
KS: It was going to be called the Anny. There was four of us working on it. We were only going to print no more than 30 copies of it. Honestly, we didn't want anyone besides people in our uhh "freak/punk" to know about it. It was going to be about things that happen in our school, city, state, country, world...blah blah blah and how we felt. The 1st copy was never finished so I'm sure there would have been more.
When and how did you first become interested in radical politics?
KS: I don't really know. I mean I think I've always been pretty interested. It might have been my friends. Most of them are older than me and I guess I just learned a lot from them.
What's your opinion on the current war?
KS: As like any war I think it's wrong. I don't believe in fighting and last time I checked war is included. I don't know or have an answer for the war, but I do know that killing people is not right. I think our country is just to lazy to think of another solution.
What kinds of things are your classmates saying about the war?
KS: See they don't even know what their talking about most of the time. Most of the things they say are just cruel about how they want to kill out the whole country. And how they are supporters of bombing. How they should stop sending food packets out there.
Now that your mother has pulled you out of school, what kind of things are you studying at home?
KS: History, English, Career, and Science. It's quite funny to now know and realize how much bull crap they're feeding you in schools lol.
What lessons have you learned from this, that you'd like to share with teenagers in similar situations?
KS: I've learned that this country is crap...actually I already knew that. I've learned that school systems are crap. Wait! I knew that too. I guess I've learned that this country and school systems are more crappy than ever and they suck. I guess I've also learned not to give up. And to stand up for what you believe in no matter what it is. It's okay to think differently, its normal. Don't let anyone run over you because of your beliefs.