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I have a whole series of blogs planned concerning my time and experiences in high school, but I have something I want to talk about today: bullying in elementary school. I’d say elementary school was my most socially successful time. By middle school my nerdiness was detected and people started being mean to me, but in elementary school I had tons of friends. My ultimate bully in elementary school wasn’t a peer, but a teacher. Towards the end of third grade, in 1997, I moved from McBride Elementary School at Fort Benning, Georgia to Wheeler Elementary School on Wheeler Army Airfield, Hawaii. I was assigned to a homeroom teacher, but had separate math and reading teachers. I was way behind in handwriting and math due to moving school districts. I was really, really good at reading though. In Georgia I had to take a test and I was reading at a 12th grade level. Everyday they would send me up to the 5th grade classes for reading time, but when I moved to Hawaii they didn’t accept the test results and I was placed with my peers. The reading teacher really didn’t like me from the start, her name was Dana Shishido-Leonillo. She was a pretty lady and sometimes wore heels and nice suits. She said some mean stuff to me every once in a while, like saying I was asking stupid questions, making fun of me for not memorizing my new address fast enough, and making snide comments about my being “haole”, but I just ignored it. I moved to Hawaii in October and the big event happened a few months later.

She gave the class an assignment (%95 percent sure it was for MLK day) and we were supposed to complete it over the long weekend. I returned to school after the weekend and had my assignment. Class began and she was at her door talking to another teacher. I knew she didn’t like me and thought I wasn’t smart, so I wanted to turn my assignment in first. She was standing in the door talking to another teacher and I went up to her and told her I had my assignment. Immediately, she started yelling at me and told me never to interrupt her again and grabbed my arm and dragged me to her desk. Once we reached her desk she got the piece for paper and taped it around my face-a piece on my forehead and a piece in front of each ear. Everyone in class was staring and laughing and she told me to walk back to my desk. I obviously couldn’t see and was in front of the whole class, so I had to feel my way back to my seat, bumping into things and being laughed at. I got to my seat and she started teaching. About ten minutes later she left the room to go next door to talk to another teacher and while she was gone the tape fell off. I didn’t know what to do and I was really scared. By this time she was walking back into the room and so I got up and told her it had fallen off. She took it from me and said, “Maybe next time I will just staple it through the bone!” and held up her stapler. She kept the paper and told me to go sit back down. Later that day I got home and told my mom what happened and she called my dad at work. My dad rushed home and we all drove up to the school. Hawaii is a union state, so it was really difficult to get a meeting and we finally got to talk to the principal without the teacher present, since she didn’t have a union delegate with her. The school said they couldn’t do anything, so then we went to the MP station on Schofield Barrack (since the school was on a military base). We had to fill out a report and my parents got a restraining order against her. In the end though, nothing ever went in her file and no professional disciplinary action was taken. After that year I was on the opposite side of the campus from her, because the 4th and 5th grade classrooms were far from the 3rd grade rooms, but she was friends with one of the 5th grade teachers, so it was always really awkward and the teachers never really liked me after that (until middle school).

After this whole fiasco I had an issue with authority and teachers and would always smart off to them and be sarcastic…I still got good grades thankfully, but I just didn’t feel the same about teachers and authority figures afterwards. Low and behold, I googled her recently and she’s won awards for teaching excellence and is still teaching kids at the same school…

Needless to say, this even greatly affected me for a really long time. It wasn’t until 6th grade that I really started getting picked on by my peers (unfortunately, I picked on a few people too), and that continued until I was out of high school, but we’ll talk about that another time!

What is the worst experience you ever had in school? What happened? How did it impact you? How have you dealt with it?