In the office today, we were talking about the hard times we suffered as children while attending school. My co-worker and I are virtually the same age, and we both attended Catholic school back in the early 70’s, a time in which teachers were allowed to do virtually anything to students.
I told of the time where a teacher would not let me go to the bathroom. I was in grade two at the time, and I was busting to pee. I asked her several times, the final time almost crying out. She would not let me go, so I did what I had to. I dropped my pants and peed in the garbage can next to her desk. I then got strapped in front of the other students. Ten times on each hand.
The next time I needed to pee and the teacher would not let me go to the bathroom, I just sat there and peed in my pants. I got the strap again. Mom paid the teacher a visit the next day. I never had any issues going to the bathroom again.
My friend had an equally embarrassing issue. She had to stand in front of the class and do math problems on the chalkboard. When she had trouble getting the answer, the teacher took out a ruler and hit her hands until they turned red and then bled. She was in so much pain, she peed in her pants. The teacher sent her home, it was a three mile walk and it was in late February. When she got home, the pee was froze to her leg and she almost had frostbite.
This was all back when we were both in grade two.
When I was in grade eleven, I had another equally embarrassing experience. While in school , I sucked in sports, especially in baseball. The gym teacher knew that I was not interested in playing baseball, but he made me play anyway. He knew that I was not a very great ball player, primarily due to childhood diabetes and terrible balance, but I had to play anyway. All the other kids had their turn at bat, but when it came to my turn, the teacher got everyone to come in from outfield, and surround me. He then got one of the players to pitch me a volleyball rather than a baseball. I still remember all the kids (even some of who I thought were my friends) dying laughing. They died laughing, and I died.
Being bullied by a kid is bad enough, but being bullied by a teacher is a thousand times worst. Those things never leave you. These memories stay with a person all their lives.
I met up with my former gym teacher at the last reunion the class had, two years ago. He was sitting alone, a bald, thin half dead old man, with serious health issues. The former students wanted to get together and tell him how they felt about him. He sat there, as smug as ever, probably expecting a ticker tape parade or at least a gift from the former students, but he was really surprised when each student got up in front of him, and using the microphone, each student told him of how much they hated him. They said that they hated how he picked out certain students, and how he made sure those students were the butt of all his cruel jokes. They said that they hated how he used his power to hurt others, and how he thought he was hot shit.
And then, it was my turn on the microphone. At first, I was going to tell everyone how he humiliated me on the ball field that day, pitching volleyballs at me and laughing, but I am a better person than that. I got up and said how sorry I felt for the guy. The entire room went silent. Everyone was expecting me to create a scene by giving him what he had coming. I continued my speech. I said how I always felt sorry that a man who had the skills and the training to help so many,but instead, he chose to abuse this power, and how this abuse of power made him the sorry excuse for a man that we see in front of us. I went on to say how every other teacher that attended the reunion could hold their heads high, because they knew that they did their best to make sure that students were successful, and that the students left high school feeling that they could take on the world. I explained that this man did none of that stuff. I explained how he had to sit at a table by himself while the other teachers sat in a group. I explained that this man was not even accepted by his fellow teachers, and how his cruelty has finally come back to bite him.
And then I grabbed a volleyball, and hurled it towards his head. I spoke loudly when I said that he was lucky that I chose to use a volleyball, because if I had used the correct ball, I would have taken his head off.
And when it was said and done, he got up and left. He did not apologize to anyone. He did not rise his head either, he couldn’t.
The scars that he left me with were nothing compared to the ones he created for himself.