Let's take a step back here. The administration's reactions to the actions of you and your peers can be boiled down to one thing. Fear.
Let me tell you my story.
I am 21. Just 3 short years ago I was in high school. I was (still am) a tall, pale, skinny geek. I was nice to the girls and flirted alot, had plenty of acquaintces but no real friends... no real peers. I remember crying at night because it seemed like I was the only person I could think of that didn't have a real friendship, a real relationship, or any real peers for that matter.
When I was 16 my parents bought our first PC. At that point I discovered myself. I remember spending night after night after night online. I had discovered a new world. A world filled with people like me. Filled with new information, new people, new ideas, new...things, and every night there was something new to be discovered. I truly wish I could have an experience like that one again.
With this discovery of who I was... a computer geek, came a new zeal. I was zealous about computers, programming, and the interent to a fault. What amazes me to this day is the amount of raw fear I produced in not only my teachers and the administration, but some of the students as well.
I soon became known among the teachers for being "extremely" computer literate. That didn't seem to be much of a problem. I believe that most adults are used to relying upon younger people to be able to "program the vcr". The trouble came when I began to explore.
One day when I was in the school library my computer crashed. Instinctively I hit the power button to reboot it. As it came back up, I recognized things I had seen while helping my neighbor accross the street who owned a small PC network consulting firm. This piqued my interest immensly. When the system came back up, I broke out of the card catalog and began digging through the system. Just looking around. I began messaging people at other compters in the library, people like the class clown, other "outsiders" like me. Pretty soon I had a few guys ooing and aahhhing behind me. I was giving them a course in Novell networking. Before very long the librarian noticed the group of boys (which usually means up to no good in high school) hudled around the computer. Through the reflection in the monitor I saw her walk up behind me. I panicked (though I still don't know why) and gave the machine the three finger salute. It froze. Fuck. The pale like a ghost, shaking, teacher asked me what I had done. She was shitting bricks. I told her in exquisite detail what I had done and what I was teaching the other students. She said "you don't know what you've done, this is so bad". She was truly terrified. I could not comprehend this. I and the other students were learning, we were exploring. We were not doing bad things. Excuse me, yes I did know exactly what I was doing.
I don't remember what my punishment was but subsequent interactions with technology and the administration summarily got me put in box, suspended, kicked out of the library, etc... I think I covered every punishment available short of being expelled.
At the same time as this I was taking a Comp Sci class. I really liked the teacher there. She appreciated my ingenuity. She smiled when I broke through the security she wrote into our development environment to keep us out of others work. She cried when I failed. I was to busy exploring and writing software that intersted me (including a web browser in pascal).
I remember giving a presentation to one of my classes about the social implications of the Internet. I explained the distributed nature of it, the communities that existed, I discussed info security and the frailty of US infrastructure and how someone like I could rapidly organize like minded hackers into a force capable of bringing an entire country to it's knees. This was all extremely interesting to me. They were white as ghosts. The class didn't have a single question, didn't say a single word.
There are countless other instances in my life to confirm my belif, too many to list here. My realization is simple. Computers, and the Internet are a magic void. Those who can dabble in the black stuff (command shell, dos prompt) are scary. Maybe I am one of those hackers they heard about on TV, maybe I use "virtual reality" (remember that movie?), maybe I seduce little girls over the Internet, maybe I steal credit card numbers. In short, they are terrified of what they do not understand.
There are still scars but none of that matters now. Out of the small school district I lived in I wound up with the prettiest girl, one of the most popular people in her school. We've been dating now for 2 years. Since dropping out, we've lived in the silicon hills and silicon valley. I've worked for a big 5 firm in London and the US, worked for IBM and BMC, worked for .com's, made more money than I ever thought possible, and made something of myself. I am not just an underachiever, or a subversive anymore. I am a software engineer and these days I am respected, for those who know what I am and what I can do, they understand that they cannot do it themselves and thus the fear becomes respect and ... appreciation.