My Highschool Principal Once Called Me A Coward

 

 

People just don't quite understand me. The old- whiny -teenager- addage. I'm misunderstood. Not on any level that harms me physically but harms me  personally and tragically. It's not a phase, I didn't grow out of this need to be really known..and here's why..

 

 

Like any other kid fresh outta elementary I was bright and full of optimism towards my first year of middle school. And, it turned out I had little to wrry about too, had a good sized group of friends, semi-interesting classes, extra-curriculars like sports and music and just generally felt welcome and purposeful. I didn't realize it but by the end of 6th grade, well I guess you could say it started when I as born, a clock started ticking. The summer was fun and passed uneventfully, but something was starting to itch and I had no idea what it could possibly entail so I continued on into my 7th grade year. Hesitation. As I approach the group of friends I had spent 6th grade with but not seen all summer. I act calm and collected as I approach them and like I still belonged. I acted. Nothing concrete, or physical, perhaps nothing at all had changed in our dynamics but, I wouldn't figure this out until later. It was me, I was different. 

Classes were okay for the most part, I stayed quiet instead of goofing around so that I would know and answer if called on. I couldn't have that attention. I had premptively dropped band, subconciously knowing I wouldn't be able to handle it. I had started rearranging and adjusting my life before I knew why. I started bypassing a school friend for church friends because I trusted them more and knew them longer. 

The cafeteria, an indoor zoo of chatting, laughing, eating, gossiping, flirting. So loud. I walked stiffly and thought about each step I put one in front of the other. Don't show the stiffness, act casual.

At first their was a seat saved one or another friend, but as I cut out outside of school friend time, and people forged deeper bonds, I was thought of less and less. I had to find a seat between groups of people. I had to act okay about it. I kept this is up as long as I could. Until I couldn't. My mind came up with the strategy of often being sick just as it was time to get ready.This was accepted more than a few times. More and more I was acted based on a wish to survive and not a wish to actually live. At this point I was fighting more and more with my parents. Ugly, pointless fights, I couldn't explain, so they couldn't understand what was going on. 

I continued this way into 8th grade. But, one day, I decided to run away from home sometime before winter break. I just spent the day in the canyon near my house with a backpack full of "survival gear" and fruit snacks and water, exhilerated but feeling sick inside. I quickly became defeated, I had a pretty good imagination but not one to see me out of that mess, and it was cold. So, I went home for a jacket and just stayed.

I'm not sure how it came about, but parents found I had run away, maybe I told them, sometimes I felt being brutally honest even if it was at a disadvantage to myself was a way to sometimes not hide and not avoid like I felt I had to everyday. My parent's were called by the school of course, and the school found out I had been "truant". So top this little fiasco off, the next day at school, I think I was  escorted by my parents, they finally saw at this point something big was happening, I was met by someone from the principal's office and a cop. As soon as he opened his mouth to lecture what he thought was probably a bratty, defiant kid, I started crying. I wasn't sorry, but I probably said I was, I wasn't sorry, I was terrified. Confronted by the upmost level of stranger and authority, I felt intense panic and fear. I could only cry.

Later I was brought in to speak to the school concilor as my parents waited outside. I don't remember what was said. My parents were brought in and she began speaking about taking Iq type tests and see if something could be worked out in that capacity (I have no idea what they were thinking). I tested way too high to be put in any sort of program that had developed to deal with people, and they didn't have anything else in place. I was a first case, as crazy as that sounds. 

Eventually I was grudgingly and defeatedly allowed to sit in the International Space Station, I.S.S., or boringly known as in school suspension. I sat at a school desk with blinders and did homework all day and sat there. This was painful in another way, but I did feel a little safer. Although all these crazy things were happening I no longer had a single soul left at school to tell. I had left all my friends behind. Apparently I.S.S. was, fittingly, a purgatory, or a temporary holding place, because what I was doing was simply not within code. And, through debate in their offices and a look at my IQ tests it was decided I could just leave. I was either too much trouble or too smart, I think it was a mixture of the two. And. that was the end of my middleschool career.

 

To be continued

 

User Comments
Anon-1

So when things became so hard for you socially, they punished you. I don't know where you're from, but that sounds like the American school system right there. I know what it's like, very personally, to have trouble with not understanding or being understood by your peers, always feeling isolated and different and alone. I can't help but feel like somebody should have realized that you needed help--which didn't involve a police officer or punishment. 

I hope that you will be able to put all of this behind you, someday. You seem like a good person, perfectly deserving of every chance that life has to offer.

Anon-2

Authority figures in school get so wrapped up in their job that they forget they're supposed to be there for their students' individual needs, not force them into a cookie cutter. Those who can't manage that responsibility need to look for another line of work. My heart truly goes out to you.

Anon-3

This guy sounds like he was a real jerk. Petty and small-minded. Schools have lost sight of students' needs in a mad scramble to represent societal trends faithfully, which is a shame and a tragedy. Best of luck in your recovery from all of this!

Anon-4

Nobody with so little ability to relate to students ought to be in a position of authority over a school population. The concept of "a few kids falling through the cracks in the system" is a baseless assertion rooted in laziness and inefficiency.