Everyone Can See The Problem Here

, , , , , | Learning | November 1, 2020

In the late 1990s, when we were in second grade, my twin sister and I got glasses. This was still the second week of school. My sister and I looked (and still look) very similar to each other, though we weren’t (and still aren’t) identical twins. We had ordered them before the start of the school year but for some reason it took some time for them to come. It was surprising that no one had realized we needed glasses before, since at the time I had 20/350 vision and my sister’s was much worse, one of her eyes being functionally blind.

We went to school the Monday after we got glasses. For me, everything was fine. My friend fawned over my glasses because it meant I could watch movies with him now. I had the teacher everyone liked. She was young, fun, and friendly and always had a joke ready for any occasion. My sister had the teacher that everyone dreaded. She was old and rather deaf and would yell at anything she found unacceptable.

Just before lunch, I was called into the main office. I went to the meeting room to see the principal and vice principal looking uncomfortable, my sister’s teacher looking very livid, another woman looking very angry as well with a hand on my sister’s shoulder, and my sister curled up in a chair crying. I went over to my sister and hugged her, and just then my dad burst into the room.

With everyone there, the meeting began. Essentially, what happened was that the teacher believed my sister was breaking the dress code because she was wearing glasses, which “pretty little blonde girls shouldn’t do,” and she tried to take my sister’s glasses off. The assistant teacher intervened. The vice principal actually seemed to be taking the teacher’s side. 

My dad smiled, and then stood up, gestured towards the vice principal and spoke very calmly and matter-of-factly.

Dad: “Firstly, I’m pretty sure I remember your daughter wore glasses in third grade. She’s friends with my son, remember? Secondly, I’m fairly certain when my son was in elementary school he had this hag as his teacher and we specifically requested that none of our other children would ever have her. Thirdly, if by the start of next week [Sister] isn’t transferred out of that witch’s class, I will lawyer up and get the press involved.”

The principal was just sitting there with a smile on his face. The vice principal was stuttering.

Vice Principal: “There are only two second-grade classes, and it’s school policy to not put twins in the same class.” 

Dad: “You can break the policy. Unless you are suggesting my daughter would fare worse in a class with her twin sister and best friend than in a class where the teacher bullies her and doesn’t believe she should be able to see the board.”

Vice Principal: “Well, how do you know that [my teacher] won’t think the same way?”

I exclaimed proudly:

Me: “Because I have her and she said my glasses were really cute this morning!”

The principal turned to the vice principal.

Principal: “You must admit, [Vice Principal], he’s got you beat on all fronts.”

Then, he turned to my dad.

Principal: “Your daughter will be out of [teacher’s] class by tomorrow.”

Even though my dad was smiling the whole time, it was the scariest my sister and I had ever seen him. My sister was transferred into my class the next day, and the year continued without much incident. The teacher was later fired midway through the year for an unrelated incident, and my sister and big brother helped bake a cake to celebrate.

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