The Day I Was Kicked Out of School

523 Kicked Out Of School Illustrations & Clip Art - iStock

I don’t know what reminded me of this experience, but I thought it worthwhile to share with you. Maybe it’s the “back to school” season.

I’m in third grade, recess is over, and we’re lining up to go back indoors. I’m standing in line, minding my own business, when the little punk behind me raises his hand and proclaims, “Mrs. C, Duigon just called you a big ape!”

I said no such thing, of course–in fact, I rather liked our teacher; but she sent me off to the office and the principal sent  me home, suspended from school for the day, blot on my record–all attempts to defend myself were in vain. I was sure my parents would punish me severely; but to my amazement, for once they believed me rather than The Authorities.

This left me with a deep distrust of The Authorities which I have yet to be able to shed. I mean, all it took was one unsubstantiated lie and I was guilty! Believe me, I know how Bret Kavanaugh felt when he had a lot of lying garbage thrown at him. My school officials made no effort to get at the truth: a mere accusation was enough to get me suspended.

I was no angel as a boy; but getting suspended for something you didn’t do… well, it’s not something that’s easy to forget.

10 comments on “The Day I Was Kicked Out of School

  1. I had something similar happen in school. I was the standout, the fundamentalist kid that never quite fit the mainstream. I got blamed for a lot of broken things, which I didn’t necessarily break. I got hauled into the principal’s office and was interrupted before I could state my case. The fact that I remember this roughly 6 decades later, speaks to the traumatic effect. I was humiliated and blamed myself for something that, in retrospect, was not of my doing.

    As a child, I was sensitive, and would be crushed if I disappointed someone I respected, such as the principal. It left me feeling terrible and my father had to talk me through it. Even now, it’s a painful memory, and the mental snapshots remain. I already was conspicuous, because of coming from a very strict background, when it came to belief, and when the kid that is charged with being a good example of Christianity gets in trouble, the weight of the Universe falls on their shoulders.

    As an adult, I have gotten beyond all of this, and have learned not to be so quick to accept blame, when I don’t deserve it. Beyond that, I see through the facade of authority that was in place, in that situation. Indeed, there have to be responsible parties managing anything, but that doesn’t give them the right to cut someone off when they are trying to explain their side of things. While I had a number of fine people as teachers, when I was in school, there are more than a few for whom I would have some strong words, were I to have met them as an adult.

    Perhaps one of the most telling events was when, as a young adult, I ventured into a local eatery, and saw a vainglorious English teacher from my high school, sitting at the lunch counter, wobbly, and obviously drunk. The fact that this loser had any role, whatsoever, in my education, is laughable.

    1. The principal we had when I was in kindergarten was a saint. I’ll never forget him. But his successors were all jerks and I detested them.

    2. As a rule, this guy was pretty decent. My memory is somewhat clouded. I think that I may have accidentally cracked a window in one of the doors, and it was an honest accident. I felt bad, but it was one of those things that could happen to anyone and not the result of anything I did wrong.

      Later on, something I was handling in the classroom fell apart in my hands and that was definitely nothing I did. A screw had become unthreaded, and when I touched it, it fell apart. Had it happened a few years later, I would have threaded it back together and that would have been all there was to the matter, but I was still very young and I was frightened. Perhaps the principal had the impression that I was a destructive kid, and had his fill of me, and that would explain his uncharacteristic behavior. As best I recall, we patched things up, and got along just fine.

      As a rule, I was a good kid. School bored me, but I wasn’t a troublemaker. They really didn’t have much to offer me. I mastered basic math, early on, and read well. My handwriting was atrocious, and that held me back, but they didn’t understand such things, back then, to the degree that they do now. Had it not been for dysgraphia, I probably would have done much better in school. One-size-fits-all education is doomed to fail.

    3. They thought I was slow because I was near-sighted. As a child, I never realized I should’ve been able to read the blackboard from where I sat. I did a lot better after I finally got glasses.

    4. My boyhood best friend was the son of a successful doctor, but was dyslexic. He received no help, whatsoever, from his family, and ended up in prison. Even a little bit of understanding and assistance could have made a huge difference in his life. Don’t get me wrong, I am all for education, but the education system has failed a lot of people, because they try to squeeze everyone into the same mold.

      As I sat in third grade, I was fascinated with aviation, mechanical and electrical things. A few years later, I got my first musical instrument, which turned into a lifetime interest. Had I been allowed to pursue my interests, I would have had a real advantage in life. Aviation has informed my life, and had I been able to learn about this subject in my earlier years, I would have done much better as a student.

    5. In the meantime, you probably were made to feel bad about not being able to read what was written.

  2. At our high school there were strict dress codes. The girls had to wear skirts and they could not come up about the knee. My PE coach sent me to the office because my hair came down over my eyes, and the Vice-Principal, Mr. Kill, sent me home to get a haircut. Now as I sub in the two high schools in town it is anything goes when it comes to dress, except you can’t wear caps or hats, and you can’t put hoodies over your head. And the way some of these teen girls dress it reminds me of the the Rolling Stones song that says “It’s makes a groan man cry.”

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