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A Victory In Tragedy, Part 2

| Learning | October 18, 2013

(I am in sixth grade, and I am a witness to my little brother’s death one night. I am up all night grieving, and am slightly late to school the next morning.)

Science Teacher: “You’re late. Sign in here and report for detention this afternoon.”

Me: “Please, sir, my brother died last night. We were up all night. Please, please don’t.”

Science Teacher: “That’s too bad. Come in for your detention this afternoon.”

Me: “Sir, I’m only a few seconds late. I’m exhausted. I need to go home right after school and help plan the funeral. Can I at least serve it another day?”

Science Teacher: “No. You were late, and you get detention. No excuses. I expect you in this afternoon to serve your detention.”

(I go on to my other classes, but my brother’s death is still fresh in my mind. Another teacher notices.)

Other Teacher: “Are you all right? You aren’t yourself.”

Me: “I’m very sorry. My brother died last night, and I was late this morning. My first period teacher gave me detention, and I’m just a little overwhelmed.”

Other Teacher: “He gave you DETENTION?!”

Me: “Yeah. I have to go in after school and serve it.”

Other Teacher: “No. I’m calling the counselor. He’s not giving you detention. Your brother DIED!”

(He calls the counselor and sends me to his office, where I finally burst into tears while telling the story.)

Counselor: “It’s all right. I’ll call [Science Teacher].” *calls* “Hello? Yes, I’m asking you not to give [My Name] that detention. Her brother died just last night, and she’s not doing well at all. What? All right.”

(The counselor hangs up and turns around, visibly angry.)

Counselor: “He said he won’t cancel it. Wait here.”

(The counselor goes out and comes back with the principal, who sees me sobbing.)

Principal: “What in the world happened to you?”

Counselor: “Tell him.”

Me: “My brother died last night, and I was there. I saw him die, and I couldn’t sleep, and I was just a few seconds late! Just a few seconds! And [Science Teacher] gave me detention. I can’t serve it because we have to plan the funeral today. He says I have to anyway.”

Principal: “No, I won’t stand for this. You’re not serving that detention.”

(He calls the science teacher.)

Principal: “Now, you listen to me carefully. [My Name] lost her little brother last night. And you give her detention? Are you crazy? She will NOT serve that detention. And if you attempt to punish her for this again, I will deal with you personally. Understood?”

(He hangs up and turns to me.)

Principal: “Calm down, now. It’s all right. I’m sorry about your brother, and you won’t have to serve that detention. I’m going to send you home now so you can rest.”

(The science teacher never gives me trouble again. Many years later, I am still grateful for the other teacher, counselor, and principal who protected me from that awful science teacher.)


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