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'90s Middle School Contraband

Children of the '90s, how permissible was your middle school? Here are 20 items that could result in detention if brought or worn to class. Give your school a point for every banned item and a half point for items likely to be confiscated and report back in the comments.

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2. Coed Naked T-Shirts


Some of us were old enough to get the jokes. Some of us weren't. We all understood the word "naked" though, which was enough to try to hide them underneath button up shirts.


3. Homemade Pen/Pencil Cannons


When we got bored in class, sometimes our thoughts turned to turning the contents of our pencil boxes into projectile weapons. Hacking a retractable pen was the best option -- they needed no additional parts to fling something across the room.

6. Temporary Tattoos


Administrators often banned temporary tattoos as part of the dress code, perhaps because they felt they would encourage actual tattooing. Sometimes we were warned about sick individuals who used temporary tattoos to get kids high on lickable PCP.

7. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark


Parents objected to reading Alvin Schwartz's terrifying masterpiece in schools when it gave their kids nightmares. If you were lucky, indulgent teachers went ahead and read it aloud anyway.


8. Rubber Poppers


The whole point of these toys was to turn them inside out and watch them "pop." After the third time you set one off in math class, it was likely to be confiscated and never seen again. Luckily, they were easy to replace. Advanced popper owners discovered that it was more entertaining to use suction to covertly stick them to friends' bodies.

9. Black Lipstick


While excessive make-up was generally frowned upon in middle school, black lipstick was in a category of its own and had to be washed off immediately. Related item: black nail polish.

10. Slam Books

Slam books were circulating notebooks containing questions or names of individuals for classmates to respond to. A staple of '80s classroom life, slam books were frowned upon in the '90s for promoting bullying and inappropriate content.


13. Big League Chew

Flickr: jasonliebigstuff

Big League Chew was either banned as part of a general bubble gum ban, or because administrators were concerned that it would promote tobacco use. Related item: candy cigarettes.

19. Sticky Hands


I kind of understand this one. Inevitably, Sticky Hands would get covered in unidentifiable detritus. This made it that much more amusing to fling them at your classmates.

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