Grade School Principal forced student to play with a bully

Lefty Graves
School Yard BullyAnnie Spratt/Unsplash

** This article is based on nonfiction by actual events that I have experienced firsthand; used with permission.

Some people were lucky enough to go to the same school system all through school; I am not one of those people. I went to 22 schools before I graduated from high school. My father was somewhat nomadic, and his job required that we frequently move until I was in high school.

I attended the same school from the last half of my third-grade year until the middle of the fourth-grade year. This was the longest I was in any grade school and the worst time of my life, thanks to one of my fellow students.

I don’t know what it was about me, but this girl had it out for me. I would return from nearly every recess with a black eye, a bloody nose, or some other injury that was inflicted upon me by this girl at recess. On the teeter-totter, she would “bump” me and send me flying into oblivion. Then, if I dared hang on, I would slam my face against the teeter-totter, bruising my cheekbone.

I went home at least every other week due to nose bleeds. This girl quickly learned my vulnerable spots and caused me a lot of grief. The worse time of it was that about a month into the abuse, the school principal got involved and demanded that I play with this tormentor during each and every recess.

In today’s world, this would never have happened. The principal would have been dealing with this quite differently; however, this wasn’t the case at that time. At that time, parents still sided with the school, and corporal punishment was allowed in schools. So I decided it was in my best interest not to say anything more in regard to the subject.

I learned some excellent fighting skills in this school. I fought pretty well for a girl. I knew that the bully was slightly clumsy and would occasionally fall mysteriously. I quickly took advantage of this and became a climber. I would climb anything to avoid this girl as she couldn’t climb.

We never became the best of friends, but we did learn to circumnavigate around one another. We learned to tolerate one another, and she finally stopped slamming my face into brick walls and the teeter-totter.

I’ll never know why this principal demanded that I play with the school bully. I had my own set of friends, and to be quite honest, none of us got along with this other girl. The bully was in a world all of her own makings.

Perhaps the principal knew I could deal with her in time and wanted her to have at least one friend. Maybe the goal was something entirely different. I was glad when my dad told me we were moving (again). I knew that this girl wouldn’t be moving where we moved to, and I would be free of her at long last.

I would go to many more schools, and never again would I have to deal with being the victim of school bully on a daily basis. For that, I am grateful. Today, I use those lessons I learned from the school bully to remind myself that unless I’ve walked in someone else’s shoes, I have no idea what they may be going through. I smile at them and walk away.

What would you have done? This was in an era where the schools were more strict, and our parents believed the teachers over the students.

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Lefty has been writing online since 2000 on various topics, including youth mentoring, addiction, parenting, gardening, advocating for seniors, sustainability, farming & more. She resides on a farm with her family in Northeastern Washington state.

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