Being Good Sucks

No, really, it does.

Today, MSN has a story on its homepage about a high school freshman who was suspended for five days. Her crime? Creating an anti-bullying video.

More specifically, the girl, named Jessica Barba, created an anti-bullying video and a facebook page that tells the fictional story of a fictional 12-year-old girl named Hailey Bennett, who lost her mother at 3, was abused by her father, was left alone after her only friend moved away and was bullied everyday. It ends with her committing suicide. The project was a school assignment.

Apparently, the reason for her suspension is that the video and FB page caused a disruption at her school. I guess school officials don’t like acknowledging serious issues that relate to school. The school found out from a concerned parent who reported the page, but didn’t scroll down far enough to see where Jessica stated that it was fake. Jessica’s mother tried to show printouts with the disclaimer to school officials, but, in her words, “they didn’t really care too much about that.”

I’ve been going to school for 13 years now. I am not surprised by a story like this. To me, this is typical. The last words of the article, stated by a director of the NYCLU in that particular county, really sum it up:

As students prepare to participate as full citizens in society, schools should encourage independent thought and dialogue about political and current events, even controversial ones. No school should ever punish a student because they disagree with what she’s saying, which appears to be exactly what happened here.

If only schools did that. It’s a fact: schools do not like confronting issues and prefer to ignore them or cover them up. They don’t want their students to have free minds. They don’t even want them to be different! I’ve got more than enough experience to know that.

Can’t Let Go, Can’t Keep Holding On

It’s almost June. The school year is nearly over. I only have 15 more days of school left and out of those 15 days, only 7 are full days. My second year of this high school (I transferred) will be over and September will begin my third year of this school and my final year overall. I should be happy, right? Well, I am. But I’m not as happy as I feel I should be because there is just one little thing I can’t let go of.

Towards the end of my first year at this school, something happened between me and a teacher. I don’t deny that it was my fault entirely, as it was meant to be an innocent joke due to my playful nature. The occurence is not what I’m upset over. It was the teacher’s reaction to it that has me upset. I cannot remember the exact timeframe of this incident, but it was after May 20th, I received a three-day suspension and when I returned to school, it was June.

Days or possibly weeks (I really do not remember) prior to this happening, I had been wearing on this teacher’s nerves. What I could’ve been doing, I have no idea. None whatsoever. What I do remember is that I was not doing well in her class. I passed two marking periods and failed two. The incident is the reason I failed the fourth one. I also remember her constantly bugging me over my work and I repeatedly asked her to leave me alone, but I know laziness is not what could’ve set her off. Otherwise, she would’ve exploded months prior.

The “joke” in question was me making physical contact with her. By “physical contact”, I mean me putting my finger on her head/hair for less than a second. Why I did that, I’m clueless, but had I known that joke would’ve set off the time-bomb she was, I wouldn’t have done it. Yelling followed. I consider apologizing afterschool, but knew she probably wouldn’t want to hear it—and I was right because she had me suspended the next day and the week I returned to school, I found out from my therapist that she had told what I did (oddly enough, she didn’t tell that I was suspended, though that was no surprise). I was supposed to be transferred out of the class, but it was too late in the year. For a few days after I came back, I stayed in the office for eighth period, when I had her class. When it was finally time for me to go back, one of the vice principals (we have two) walked me back to class. This exchange happened:

Me: Why do I have to go back to her class?
Him: Because you’re still entitled to an education.

First off, entitlement sucks in this case. Second, what education was he talking about? After I returned to that class, I was completely excluded. I sat in the back of the room (he told me to) every day and was completely and utterly ignored. Never given any work, never called on. The most that teacher did is mark me absent instead of cut when I didn’t show up and said nothing when I left early (though I only did this once, by a minute, because she was showing the class some girl’s failed attempt at rapping during a press conference; I hate rap anyway, so I would’ve left even if it was good). What education was I getting, besides learning that I clearly wasn’t welcome in her class anymore and she absolutely hated my guts? I didn’t even show up for my final exam because I knew she would not give it to me. I did—and still do—wish I could’ve amended things with her, but I knew there was zero chance of that happening, so I let it go.

It has been very nearly a year since this happened. My new English teachers (yes, I got two this year) have been wonderful to me. One did bug me about work for a short while (this was not laziness, but I let him think that), but eventually left me alone and I like being with both of them in class. Not to mention the other one, who is a woman, is downright adorable and very pretty (the first one was pretty too, but this woman is prettier; that has nothing to do with it, but I just felt like mentioning it). I think it’s very likely that if I end up having an English class again next year, I will be placed with them and that would be perfect. I have nothing to complain about.

Yet for some reason, I cannot let go of what happened last year. I can’t. It still lingers in my mind. I don’t know if I’m angry, if I’m feeling guilty, if I’m sad or if it’s some combination of the three. And I can’t shake the feeling that this will linger in my mind for all of next year and possibly remain even when I am in college, which will be ridiculous! But it will not go away. I may possible be stuck on this incident for a lifetime. I hope not, but I am so unsure.

One thing is certain, however. That teacher’s reaction taught me something: she has haphephobia, which is fear of being touched. I never thought such silly or odd phobias could be real, but I was clearly wrong. At least I learned something out of that whole ordeal.

NOTE: If you’re wondering why this has the “humor” tag, it’s because all of this was the result of a joke. A bad joke, unbeknownst to me, but a joke nonetheless.