All too frequently i was told as a child that my school days would be the best of my life, and i wanted to believe that, but it seemed to only be true for what i call the future loser, we all know one, it was the person at school who used to make fun of 1 kid and then as an adult end up working for them and it was only then that he realised his fall from his school throne had been a hard one.
I wouldn’t say my school days were the best days of my life but they were certainly memorable, but for all the wrong reasons. When i started primary school i was just like any kid, nervous and scared, but that didn’t last long, I quickly made friends and settled into my new environment, a few weeks passed and everything was great, not only did i have friends but i had also been given the highly sought after job of being the child who rings the school bell to indicate that it was break and dinner times and also the end of our day. The first time i realised i may be heading for problems was when i was walking along the school playground and suddenly went flying forward as if i had taken off, i heard the sound of raucous laughter and when i looked up there was a boy surrounded by his army of goons, i was told that if i sat in his seat again i would get even worse than what i had just received. What made things worse was, i wasn’t sure which was his seat, so every lesson i would wait for him to choose his chair before i sat down.
The next few years went without a hitch, apart from the odd telling off from the teachers for answering their written comments in my workbooks with my own scrawlings. And so primary school came to an end, This was not what i wanted to happen, the carefree days of running around like a lunatic and being able to get away with it had gone by so quickly it was almost like i was being forced to grow up, I was going to secondary school and i had to act responsible.
During the six week holiday i had prepared myself for what i thought was coming, it couldn’t be all bad, i mean surely all my friends would be going to the same school. Secondary School was nothing like i had imagined, i was used to having the same teacher for most of my lessons, but not only did i have different teachers for every lesson i had to go to different classrooms.
Secondary School was nothing like i expected, all the groups and friendship hierarchy had already been put into place and i wasn’t accepted into the lion’s den with open arms as i had hoped, i didn't seem to fit into any group. You could see the social divide, there was the popular kids, a group i most definitely was never going to be part of, The sporty kids which i would loved to be a part of but due to a medical condition it made it highly unlikely that i would be accepted into that clan, there was the technology geeks, now i thought that particular group would be where i was right at home, it turns out i didn't know enough about quad core terra thingies and binary doo-dahs to be one of the gang, there was also the science gang who expected me to know the whole of the periodic table before i was allowed to interact with them, safe to say my asking to join was the first and last time i spoke to them as i thought the periodic table was a table you was only allowed to sit at during certain times of the day.
so that left 2 groups, one was a group of 12 other students who like me, didn't think they would find a friend and the cheerleaders and as much as i like the idea of jumping up and down and shaking my pom poms, i don't think there is enough therapy available through the NHS for me to even contemplate it, so i joined the 12 other students and finally started to form solid friendships.
Apart from my merry band of misfits as we had started calling ourselves, there was one other person that i had no choice but to get on with, my sister Mandy, she was something of a guardian angel to me and always seemed to be there at the right time, it was like she has this super sense and could detect when i was in trouble, most of the times she got in trouble was because she was sticking up for me, I remember one time i went home complaining i was hungry because a girl named Melissa was stealing my food at lunch time, so the next day as i sat down in the cafeteria Melissa approached me she was just about to take a handful of my chips when her head suddenly snapped back, Melissa screamed and i heard my sister shout “get your own fucking chips”. Melissa never bothered me from that day on, all because of my sister.
My sister was ahead of me by 2 years, so it was only a matter of time before i was all alone in school, and when she left that became evident. The name calling became more frequent as did the fights, i am not much of a fighter, and i am not ashamed to say that out of all the fights i have had at school i have never won any of them, partly because my opponent has always been nearly a foot taller than me and partly because i had no interest in fighting.
I started to skip lessons, and sometimes just not turn up to school at all, or there was the few occasions when i would turn up for registration and then disappear until lunchtime then when i had had my fill i quietly slipped off again. And for the remaining 3 years of school i became what was considered a problem child, frequent trips to the head teacher's office and being sent to the isolation unit were becoming a common occurrence, it was during one of my trips to isolation that i found my second school guardian angel, this time in the form of a 6 foot 2 Jamaican teaching assistant called Paul-James or JP for short, JP would sit with me in isolation and we formed something of a bond and i felt i could talk to him, i explained that i didn’t like coming to school because of the bullying and constant name calling, how i felt targeted and singled out and how on most days i didn’t want to be alive.
JP started coming to my lessons with me, and i knew the reason for this was two-fold, to make sure i was not being bullied and also to make sure i actually turned up to my lessons.
JP helped me study for my GCSE exams and because i was described as a struggling student i was allowed to do my exams in the isolation unit, and although he wasn’t supposed to he came across and helped me with a few answers.
I was glad when i left secondary school, on the last day i was treated like any student, mainly because we was all covering each other in eggs and flour, and signing the shirts of people we had hardly even looked at let alone spoken to, But i was glad because the bullying would finally stop, i had college to look forward to, and surely college was totally different to school, wasn’t it I supposed i will just have to wait and see.