Field Trips Save Childhoods

, , , , , , | Learning | October 13, 2018

In elementary school, there were two kids from the same household that we all thought were “weird.” Both brother and sister were rail thin to the point where their heads looked more like skulls wearing tight skin, and the sister was losing hair. I didn’t recognize it as a sign of abuse. (In addition the fact that I was a child, my disability causes me health issues that look like neglect.)

There were always bruises on them, and they had black eyes, and rope burns on their wrists. They were absent all the time. The boy would frequently lose his temper and kick and bite. The girl was timid at times, loud and socially awkward at others. Both had horrible grades and the boy couldn’t read, while the girl read at a low level.

We did isolate both as a result. People were afraid to talk to the sister, even. Some hated and bullied them. I wasn’t very popular, either — my bullies weren’t as bad but I was afraid the bullies would join forces — so I stayed as far away as possible.

In fourth grade, we had a field trip coming up. My mom volunteered to chaperone it. They had so many volunteers that they split the class into groups of two. I was absent the day the groups were decided, so I got stuck with the sister. I complained to my mother in private. She told me that I should just give the girl a chance.

Half the kids went by bus, while the ones whose parents had volunteered were driven. We met up with the sister and everyone split up. Being on our own was actually really nice. I realized she was weird the same way I was. She was so happy getting to explore the Cultural Center, saying she never got to go anywhere but school and church. We had a lot of fun together.

Looking back, I don’t think Mom enjoyed the trip as much as I did. She kept asking things that I now realize were red flag questions. When Mom drove me home, she asked me a few more questions. Mom spent a lot of time on the phone when we got home.

I didn’t see the siblings at school after that. The teacher made a comment about them “changing homes,” but wouldn’t explain. If you’ll allow me to toot my mom’s horn, I’m really proud of her. The first time she saw this kid, she knew, she verified, and she took action. It’s like that old slogan: if you see something, say something.

 

Unfiltered Story #119936

, , , , | Unfiltered | September 9, 2018

When I was in grade school I had a really terrible teacher I’ll call Ms. Trunchbull because she was a shot put champion in high school. Now Ms. Trunchbull hated my guts with a fiery passion and being all of nine years old just could not figure out why. In early October the district psychologist had diagnosed me with a mild executive processing disorder, so for the first time I had an IEP (many years later I learned that this was why she hated me). Immediately after she changed all her lesson plans to things that I absolutely could not do and denied me any extra time for tests and assignments. The smallest excuse was used to give me detention, so I was an hour late everyday and never got recess. I tried to tell the support teacher but she either didn’t believe me or didn’t have the power to do anything about it.

Now because I had an IEP our classroom got a computer a full year before every other class because it was supposed to help me learn or something. This was where the Big Bad Terrible Thing happened. You see Dad was a computer programmer, we had a computer so he could supposedly work from home, but if he wasn’t using it I could. Ours was a dos machine and far, far, more complicated to use than the simple IBM terminal in class that could only run programs off floppies (the big ones not the little 3 1/4 inch floppies). The day after we got the class computer, Ms. Trunchbull was very late. So late that the VP was supervising my class of very bored nine year olds. Me being a big nerd even at that age, asked to use the computer to play games and the VP agreed as long as I showed everyone else how to use the computer.

As I was walking my class through playing Number Munchers, the VP got called away. So out walks the VP and about ten minutes later in walks Ms. Trunchbull. To a crowd exclaiming how smart and cool I was. She absolutely lost it. She screamed at me that I was stupid, I was infecting all the normal kids with my stupid and that the entire class had detention for the rest of the week for allowing themselves to be infected with my stupid. From that point on any kid that spoke to me got detention, I was not allowed to participate in gym and she tried to get me barred from field trips.

Up until this point she had plausible explanations for everything but couldn’t explain this away. My parents didn’t believe me, but the other kids told their parents, who complained to the school. Then she screwed up big time. She just left me in the classroom after school for detention, while she went to a staff meeting; a three-hour staff meeting. I was supposed to go over to a friend’s so Mom didn’t know anything was wrong until about 4:30 when my friend’s mom called her wondering where I was. My mom called the school and of course Ms. Trunchbull lied. Unfortunately for her the janitor was doing an early room check and found me reading a book in the cloakroom. I’d like to say that they fired her on the spot but it was my word against hers and she remained my teacher for the rest of the school year.

It did however spark an investigation into her and eventually her contract was not renewed two years later. They made her the computer teacher the next year to minimize her contact with children, and the 5-8 gym teacher the year after. I found out through my friendship with the school secretary that her behaviour towards me was not an isolated incident, during the investigation several parents came forward about her bullying and it was suspected but not proven that she drove a student to suicide (she was his teacher the year he killed himself). She was deemed un-hireable by the school board, so I don’t think she was ever a teacher again.

Reese’s Pieces Of Death

, , , , , | Learning | September 5, 2018

(I have a student who is severely allergic to peanuts. It’s in their IEP that even incidental contact could cause them serious problems, and I have to pay close attention to labels on what I eat and wash my hands vigorously if I have anything nut-related. I’m in a committee meeting in my principal’s office. Her recently-restocked candy dish is FULL of Reese’s Pieces.)

Me: *stares at bowl hungrily and uncertainly*

Principal: “What’s wrong?”

Me: “I really want a Reese’s, but I don’t have time to wash my hands as much as I’d need to before I pick up my class.”

Principal: “Does washing your hands really take that long?”

Me: “I mean, it’s either that or I accidentally kill [Student]…”

(Long pause as I realize what I just joked about, and my principal just stares.)

Principal: *tossing three pieces my way* “Well, if you’re killing [Student], you might as well make it worth your while.”

(For the record, I did wash my hands the required amount, and was only a minute late picking up my class.)

School Rules Going Down The Toilet

, , , , | Learning | August 29, 2018

(I am in third grade, and our school is having a lockdown drill. It’s the first one I remember ever having at school. It’s around late 2000 or early 2001, so a little bit before 9/11, but it is around the time that school shootings are starting to be recognized as a problem, so maybe that is why they have only just decided to start doing these drills. Anyway, my teacher that year isn’t the greatest. She isn’t exactly the most patient person, and maybe should have rethought her decision to be a teacher. And of course, during lockdown drills, teachers are supposed to just have their students hide in a corner of the classroom, turn the lights off, and make sure the door is locked. However, our classroom happens to have a small bathroom in it, and my teacher has the bright idea to try to cram all of us into this tiny bathroom, AND turn the lights out in there. It is literally pitch black and I can’t see anything in front of me. I am a shy and quiet kid, so I am kind of just standing there and being silent, but of course, being young kids, some of the others are fidgeting around and being silly. But I mean, what do you expect when you try to cram that many kids together in a tiny, pitch-dark space?)

Kids: *giggling*

Teacher: *whispering at this point* “Quiet! You can’t make a sound right now! If you don’t settle down, you are all going to lose all of your tickets for today!”

(Then, suddenly, the toilet flushes. I’m sure someone just bumped or fell into it. Again, it is pitch black in there, so I really doubt a kid could have actually found the flusher on the toilet and pushed it intentionally.)

Teacher: *yelling* “WHO DID THAT?! That’s it! Every one of you has lost your tickets for the whole day!”

Me: *thinking* “So… Thank goodness this is just a drill, because if a bad guy really was in the school, we just would have been the first ones to die.”


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Revenge Is Always The Real Thing

, , , , , | Working | August 27, 2018

I am the only IT employee at a primary school. This means it’s my task to keep servers and workstations up and running, and to create accounts for new teachers to log in, giving them email addresses and setting their passwords.

It is the end of summer holidays, and next week the new school year will start.

I’m very busy with a lot of work. It’s also still very hot weather, so I’m really looking forward to taking a break and having my ice-cold [soda].

I go to the fridge where I have stored my drink. My drink isn’t there, but there’s a note that Tom was thirsty, so he had my drink, and I should see him and try to get my money back.

I’m angry and go looking for the guy. I meet the manager of the school with someone I haven’t seen before. Turns out it’s Tom, and he’s a new teacher.

I decide to confront him here and now about my drink. I hand him his note and tell him he owes me 25 Euros. He looks at me and smiles and says it’s ridiculous.

I tell him that no, it’s not, because I need compensation for the time it will take me to get out and buy another drink, and the wear and tear on my car during the process. So he needs to pay up or regret it.

He stills thinks I’m joking. The boss looks worried but says nothing. Okay, fine, Tom. But you’ll be begging me to take your money.

He thinks I can’t touch him. I walk away.

And from that moment, my fun begins and I become his personal System Administrator from Hell.

As I’m told, I create his email account for him. Password: J3rk&Th!ef.

Every single time he logs in to his PC, there is a [soda] commercial song blaring through his speakers. All his documents have, “I steal from my coworkers,” automatically added as a line at the top and bottom of each page. Documents he save mysteriously disappear and reappear with, “I’m a thief,” added to the title.

It doesn’t take long before he comes to see me. Without a word, he hands me 25 Euros.

At the end of the school year, he leaves to go to another school where a friend of mine is the System Administrator. My friend calls me to talk about a new teacher at his school that is ever so courteous and pleasant to work with.

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