Not Like Everyone Else

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Not Like Everyone Else
Written byJamie Pachino
Directed byTom McLoughlin
StarringAlia Shawkat
Illeana Douglas
Eric Shweig
Ritchie Montgomery
Gary Grubbs
Simone Carter
Lucas Till
Laura Wiggins
Josh Blaylock
J. D. Evermore
Douglas M. Griffin
Nakotah Larance
Theme music composerSean Callery
Country of originUnited States
Original language(s)English
Producer(s)Tom McLoughlin
Gary M. Stangis
Running time2 hours (with commercials)
Original networkLifetime Television
Original releaseJuly 10, 2006

Not Like Everyone Else is a 2006 television film that aired on Lifetime Television and starred Alia Shawkat, Illeana Douglas and Eric Schweig. It is based on a true story of events that happened to Brandi Blackbear in 1999–2000. This telefilm was shot in Shreveport, Louisiana.


Shortly after the Columbine High School massacre, Union Intermediate High School (in Tulsa, Oklahoma) was one of many schools around the country increasing security measures to prevent school shootings. Brandi Blackbear wrote horror stories similar to those of Stephen King, dressed in a slightly Gothlike way, and was not afraid to be herself, or to stand up to bullying by popular kids. Her defiance engendered hostility toward her from certain segments of her school's culture. False stories of threats of violence were circulated, and the combination of her writing and authorities' natural hyperawareness following Columbine led to her being suspended. When some of her fellow students later saw her checking out a book on world religions, including Wicca (as research for her stories), they immediately branded her a witch, and eventually accused her of casting a spell that made a teacher sick. Fear of her spread through much of the school, and she was once again suspended.

Finally, her parents went to the ACLU, where they were told they had a good case against the school for violating her civil rights. The ACLU sued the affluent school for $10 million, even though the Blackbears were not sure they deserved that much based on what Brandi had suffered. Still, the ACLU argued that the school would not take any lesser claim seriously. When the school offered a settlement, the Blackbears refused. They were not interested in the money, despite needing it; what they really wanted was to have their story heard in court to inform the public that the school had mistreated Brandi. The judge ruled to dismiss the charges rather than going to trial, and ordered the Blackbears to pay $6000 in court fees, which they could not afford. Eventually it was agreed to drop the fees if the Blackbears dropped their appeal. Earlier that day at school however, Kimberly (the most popular girl in school, and Brandi's main tormentor) tries to interview Brandi for the school newspaper but she declines, and also, everyone at school expresses their admiration for Brandi, causing Kimberly to lose her popularity.

Further reading[edit]

  • American Civil Liberties Union (October 26, 2000). "ACLU of Oklahoma Files Federal Lawsuit on Behalf of Student Accused of 'Hexing' a Teacher". Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  • Associated Press (July 20, 2002). "Student accused of practicing witchcraft loses lawsuit". Retrieved January 7, 2014.
  • Kaminer, Wendy (December 19, 2001). "American Gothic". The American Prospect. Retrieved January 7, 2014.

External links[edit]