This. Is. TERRIFYING.

, , , , , , | Learning | July 24, 2021

I attended elementary school — kindergarten through fifth grade — from the early to mid-1990s. Every year for Halloween, and the three days leading up to it, our entire school became a haunted house. The ticket sales went to various other school programs and activities. This being an elementary school, you might think it was more of a kid-friendly haunted house. Nope, it was an actual haunted house. The different rooms didn’t change much, but it was pretty gruesome and people really got into it. A lot of parents would help out and the high school even gave extra credit to the students who volunteered to help. Considering how conservative the little town we lived in was at the time, I’m surprised they were even allowed to start this, let alone keep it going for nearly twenty years.

The final scare at the end of the haunted house happened when you reached the cafeteria. A man, usually one of the coaches from the high school, popped out in a Jason mask while revving a real chainsaw (with the saw chain removed) and chased you through a wooden maze that had been built in the cafeteria.

By my fifth grade year, my friends and I weren’t really scared by the haunted house anymore, since most of the scares were the same every year. We were part of the first group to go through and were mostly giggling and goofing around. We made it to the cafeteria, but we weren’t sure when or where Jason would pop out.

We made it nearly to the end of the maze when Jason appeared, revving his chainsaw. The people at the front of our group screamed and ran out the door to the school lobby. One of my friends thought he’d be funny and decided to dart through Jason’s legs on his way out. Jason lurched back, sending the chainsaw over his head and into one of the maze walls. We all froze when we heard the sound of wood splitting and the chainsaw choking as it got stuck.

A teacher who’d been monitoring the area came running in and turned the lights on. There, stuck in the maze wall, was a chainsaw that most definitely still had the blades on. Coach Jason had forgotten to take the chain off.

The teacher herded us out of there while Jason tried to get the chainsaw free. They shut the haunted house down for about an hour while all the teachers met and talked about what to do. Different volunteers dressed as monsters, zombies, etc., switched in and out of the cafeteria for the rest of that Halloween season. They kept doing the haunted house for several years after I graduated on to middle school, but they never had Jason back again.

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Every Vacation Has A Price

, , , , , , | Learning | June 15, 2021

When I was in fifth grade, there was this one kid who, to put it kindly, could never be accused of being in possession of general common sense. For example, he bragged to some kids about something mischievous he did — within earshot of the school principal!

One day, he did not show up to class, and no one thought anything of it. As usual, the teacher would leave whatever assignments and whatnot on his desk.

A week went by, followed by yet another week. I overheard the teacher mentioning to a faculty member that calls had been placed to the kid’s home, which had been both unanswered and unreturned, and that there was a serious concern that there might have been a serious personal emergency or illness.

Then one day, he popped up, as grand as you please, bragging to the kids about his “vacation” in Texas. The teacher saw him and obviously confronted him.

Teacher: “Where have you been the past two weeks?”

Kid: *Grandly, with a huge smile* “Texaaaaaas! Dad got a huge bonus at work and some vacation time and took us all! Yep! Got myself a heck of a tan, too!”

Teacher: *Turning a patchwork of purple and red* “You can’t just up and take a vacation smack in the middle of the school year without making arrangements with us first about your schoolwork! What is wrong with you?”

Kid: “Schoolwork? But I was on vacation!”

The teacher returns to her desk, produces a tower of paperwork, and plops it down on his desk.

Teacher: “I sure hope you’re ready to sacrifice your lunchtime recesses. And, on top of that, I hope your dad will understand why you will be in detention after school every day until every single assignment is completed!”

Kid: “That’s not fair!”

Teacher: “Unless you would like to get zeroes for everything. And, for your information, it’s not fair to the other students to let you skip out on your work while they are here every day trying and working hard. Anything else you’d like to share with the class about the spectacular time you had in Texas while they were hard at work? We’d love to hear it.”

The kid just scowled.

It took him a month to finally get caught up.

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Well, At Least He Learned Something…

, , , , , , , | Learning | May 29, 2021

Teacher: “For our next science test, I will award the person who scores the highest a $20 prize.”

To a ten-year-old kid back in the 1990s, this was serious cash.

A few days later, I went into the empty classroom during lunch break and spotted a stack of the aforementioned tests on the teacher’s desk. Devil horns sprouted out of my head as I grinned from ear to ear, snatched a test off the stack, and stuffed it in my backpack.

I figured the teacher would get suspicious of a C-average student suddenly scoring a perfect on a relatively difficult exam, so that evening when I was at home, I memorized that test forward, backward, out of order, sideways, upside down, and even made flashcards for myself. The following morning, I took the test, and the day after that — just as I was fully fearing — the teacher stopped me at the door as the class was filing in to begin the day and marched me straight to the principal’s office. After presenting her accusations and hearing my denial, they demanded I retake the test in front of them.

I wish I could describe the bewildered looks on their faces after the teacher graded my test, only for me to score another “perfect” score. The teacher then tried asking questions from the test out of order and then rewording the questions to trip me up into giving an incorrect answer. Then, suddenly, she flung the test down.

Teacher: “He’s not even hesitating to answer or taking any time to think!”

I ended walking out of that office feeling like Billy Bada**.

She later did give me the $20 — begrudgingly, with an “I know you did something” look on her face.

Does the story end there? Unfortunately for me… no. For the rest of the school year, every time a science test was approaching, the teacher would announce the date of the test, and would always end the announcement this way.

Teacher: *Ominously* “And I expect a certain someone in this classroom to score no less than 100%, or he will be in more trouble than he has even been in in his entire life!”

And for the rest of the school year, I made science my number one subject to focus 90% of my attention on, and I would spend hours frantically studying for each approaching test — far too terrified to score less than 100% each time. Once, I scored a 95% and nearly pissed myself.

Disclaimer: Cheating on schoolwork is something I now as an adult do not condone; you are only robbing yourself. I am only laughing at the humor of this situation which occurred nearly thirty years ago.

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Bullies Are Just The Worst

, , , , , | Learning | May 11, 2021

I am not social in school. One boy, in particular, seems to take great pleasure in pushing me to the point of tears before leaving me alone with my anger. I tell my parents about this boy, they ask the school to intervene, and the school sends us to a group called “peer counselors.” Each counsel session has two school-aged counselors and one teacher. I’m nine, [Boy] is eleven, and we’re both in fourth grade.

Peer Counselor #1: “We are here today to find out why [My Name] feels targeted by [Boy].”

Boy: “She likes it.”

Me: “I don’t.”

Boy: *Poking me* “It’s just for fun!”

I duck out of his reach, batting his hand away.

Me: “Stop!”

Boy: “She hit me! See?”

Peer Counselor #1: “[Boy], please keep your hands to yourself. [My Name], don’t hit.”

Peer Counselor #2: “[My Name], why do you think [Boy] is picking on you?”

Me: “I don’t know. He’s mean.”

Peer Counselor #2: “Let’s try to not use words like that. Let’s try being more constructive and less destructive.”

Boy: “[My Name] doesn’t have friends. I’m just trying to give her the attention she wants.”

Me: “I don’t want attention.”

Boy: “Then why did you go tattling to your mommy and daddy like a widdle baby?

He makes mocking crying motions by his eyes. I feel the tears coming and shake my head.

Boy: “See? She’s a baby!”

Peer Counselor #2: “[Boy], we don’t call people babies.”

Peer Counselor #1: “Clearly, [My Name] does not like the attention you’re giving her. Don’t you think you should stop?”

Boy: “No. No one else even talks to her.”

He reaches over and pulls my hair so hard my head jerks sideways.

Me: “Stop!”

I start crying.

Teacher: “Okay, [Boy]. That’s enough. Get up.”

Boy: “What?”

Teacher: “Get up. Now.”

She stands beside him, not touching him.

Boy: “You can’t make me.”

Teacher: “Get. Up.”

[Boy] smiles smugly, crossing his arms.

Boy: “No.”

Teacher: “Okay.”

She grabs him by the arm and drags him out of the room. He protests as they go down the hall toward the principal’s office.

Boy: “Hey! Let go! You can’t touch me!”

My mom came and picked me up from school that day. A few days later, when I returned to school, I heard that [Boy] had been expelled. My “tattling” had given other kids the courage to come forward, sharing experiences from stealing lunch money to physical intimidation. The principal and other staff members felt that expulsion was the best move for everyone. I don’t know what happened to [Boy] or where he went after he was expelled.

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Enunciation Is So Important

, , , , , , | Learning | May 2, 2021

A kindergartner is sent to the principal for writing on his bus seat.

Principal: “Did you write on your seat on the bus?”

Child: “Yes.”

Principal: “Do other kids write on the seats?”

Child: “No.”

Principal: “Do you write on the furniture at home?”

Child: “No.”

Principal: “Then why did you think it was okay to write on the bus seat?”

Child: *Bursts into tears* “Because the driver told us to sit in our ‘signed seats, and mine wasn’t signed!”

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