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Mon Dec 10, 2012, 03:08 PM

Starry's private school story-- [View all]

An anecdote, so take it for what it's worth.

I spent the first three years of school in a public school that I loved, and then our family moved to another suburb across the county. The other public schools were high quality there too, but my dad had a client that went to an exclusive private Catholic school and it was decided that I would go there.

There began 6 years of bullying and meanness. The other families in the school were upper middle class, while my family was just middle middle. We all knew this, since the kids were aware of their family status and often compared notes, houses, cars, vacations. I was not darling, was nerdy and was soon isolated and teased.

The academics were mostly packets of assignments that you were expected to complete independently. For a self-starter who had begun in this system, I'm sure it worked great. As someone who had never been on that kind of program, it was a nightmare since I could never get organized or keep track of time. Also, the school had started cursive writing and pen writing a year previous, so I was made to feel stupid and was kept in every recess and lunch to practice. I wasn't allowed to turn in any homework until I mastered this, so I was nearly flunked out from the get go.

As a result I started to hate school and learning, and felt even more isolated and would just read books and not do my homework, which was copious. One teacher would call me dumb in the class and announce my (low) grades when my attention drifted.

Only one teacher in eighth grade finally started treating me like a human being and is probably the reason I'm not living in squat somewhere.

The first year of high school was the cherry on top--all girls and toney as fuck. If your parents didn't drive you up in a Caddy or better, you were considered a second-class citizen. In PE, one girl made it her mission to line-drive softballs right to my head, to express her opinion of my shitty skills as a catcher, since I'd never managed to master sports either. This went on every day while the teacher made no effort to intervene.

I had a group of three bullies who would shanghai me in the hallways, lurk by my locker, and planted fake drugs in my locker to try to get me in trouble. My mom made numerous trips to the principal to try to get some help--finally the principal just said that if I was unhappy, I should leave. Expelling three girls would cost them three tuitions, but my leaving would just cost them one. She actually said this.

I transferred to public school for the second year of high school and instantly made friends, some of whom are still dear friends today. I got involved in art, doing make-up for theater, and became editor of the literary journal by Senior year. I still had dry heaves every day before school for a year from the stress of ninth grade, but by the end of Junior year I finally got over that. I even joined a Rocky Horror cast with another school friend and made tons of new friends there too.

Now I teach at the public high school I went to, and still love the memories of the teachers there who helped me join the human race. Mr. H who stayed through many lunches to help me matte work for my college portfolio, Mr. P who helped me do extra credit to pass Chemistry and get into a State School, Ms. R who taught us to write college level papers using the rubric of Syracuse University, and so many more. The teachers who are there now are still awesome people who love and care for the students and work very hard to actually make sure no one gets left behind, even in an era of magically shrinking budgets.

One persons story. Thank you for reading.

~Starry

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Starry Messenger Dec 2012 OP
SheilaT Dec 2012 #1
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