When I was 8 after coming home in tears from school for months, my mother had enough.
Monday. She arranged a meeting before her work with the principal of my school. He shook, first, her hand and, then, his head in agreement with everything my mother told him. He told me to feel free to go and speak to him if any of this ever happened again.
Tuesday. A group of boys from 5th grade were spitting on my head from the second floor onto the first where I was sitting with my friends. I looked up and saw one of my classmates’ older brother with his friends – all laughing. I stayed there unmoving for a couple of minutes so my friends wouldn’t realize. I made an excuse and went to clean myself up. I took a piece of paper and wrote down the names of the boys.
Wednesday. During the first period, I found the word “faggot” written in purple ink behind my chair with an arrow pointing at where I was supposed to be sitting. I hid the back of the chair with my jacket. I waited until lunch break to wipe it off and exchange chairs with someone else. I spent the rest of the day at the pens of my classmates searching for the right shade of purple that matched the back of my chair. I found it. I wrote another name on my list.
Thursday. In the middle of gymnastics class, I asked the teacher If I could be excused to use the bathroom. She gave me her permission and I left class just before the boys were choosing teams for football practice. I reached the toilets and right in front of the door, some boys from 6th grade were standing right in front of it- as if they were waiting for me. They refused to let me in and when I tried to enter through them they pushed me out. They said that I should use the girls’ toilets and that faggots aren’t allowed in the boys’ ones. I ran back to class and didn’t use the toilet for the next two periods. I wrote three more names on my list.
Friday. By the end of classes, I had over 15 names on my list. When the bell rang, I paid a visit to my principal. I handed him my list and gave him a description of the crimes against me from each and everyone on it. He said, “I’ll see what we can do about it”.
What he saw that they could do about it was – nothing.
In the days, the weeks, the years that followed nothing changed, except maybe that I no longer came home from school crying but waited until bedtime so I wouldn’t upset my mother.
Image courtesy of Petros Aronis
The rest of the stories in qmunicreate #12 can be found here.