School Stories: Adventures in Education

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School Stories: Adventures in Education

Postby Tremors » 23 Jul 2007, 14:04

In the spirit of the religious and car stories threads, I thought it would be a fun idea to start "telling tales out of school". We all attended school, and we all must have some stories from those days. And since most of us on this forum either went to a NSP school, sent kids to a NSP school or in some other way have an affiliation to a NSP school, a lot of us can relate to the settings or people involved in some of the stories that will be presented. I'll kick this off and we'll see who runs it back.
Last edited by Tremors on 29 Nov 2007, 16:04, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Tremors » 23 Jul 2007, 14:14

Incidental Vandalism

I wasn't always the well adjusted, upstanding citizen I am today. Quit your laughing. I may have talked back to authority. I may have hung out with, and learned bad habits from hoodlums. I may not have done my homework. I may have gotten into a fight or two or, well...more than two. I may have ditched class sometimes. If I pulled some girl's hair or snapped the occasional bra in the halls or on the bus, I was just being sophomoric.

My, less-than-social behavior was never truly malicious, just childish and defiant. Even at my worst, I knew there were some lines not to be crossed. I didn't want to hurt people and I certainly didn't want go to, Totem Town, "ju-ve" (juvenile detention for you more "straight-laced" types) over anything. Besides, I no more wanted to disappoint my mom than I wanted to incur her wrath. None-the-less, I did a few mischievous things as a kid and occasionally spent time doing an "after school special" or sitting in my reserved seating in In School Suspension.

My reputation had preceded me, but by the time I reached North High I had left most of that behavior behind in junior high; most of that behavior, but not all. A low-level delinquent was my chosen lot. It wasn't until my junior year that I completely stopped being a pain in the assistant principal's ass and engrained myself into school activities and social fabric of life as a regular teenager in high school. Such was my history up to the last day of school in 10th grade.

The spring sun was warm as we were outside doing little more than goofing off in gym class; the last class of the last day of the year. Our finals were done the day before, so we had been given the opportunity to spend the time outside that was normally allotted for that hour's final exam. We were having fun, but our minds were on the rapidly approaching summer vacation. No more classroom, no more books; no more teachers... You get the idea. Three months of fun and freedom with our friends. Jobs and spending money, the beech and the mall were looking mighty good as the time inched closer to day's end.

Then it happened; the teacher set us free. There was ten minutes left in the day. We were gathered back by the tennis courts behind one of the relatively (as in only 20 or 25 years old) newer additions to the old school. All we had to do was run back to our respective lockers to fish out what we would bring home for the summer and what we would dump into a massive wash of papers, pens and folders covering the hallway floors, then go home. With my locker being nearly as far to the west of where we were as possible, I certainly didn't want to waste any time.

En mass, we students rushed out from the tennis courts for the nearest door, and like waves crashing onto rocks, we piled against the glass and steel portals only to find them locked. Locked! What the hell was this? From the other side of the glass, we observed a couple of girls standing at their lockers down the hallway. Being impatient, we decided to go to another nearby door by the band room only to find that too was locked! Maintenance must have been as anxious to start summer vacation as we were.

While a couple people may have left our group to find their own door, most of us returned to the first set of locked doors. Hopefully the sight of a couple dozen anxious classmates would get the girls' attention and they could let us in. With any luck we wouldn't frighten them off. So with the shouts of more than two dozen voices and the drumming of nearly as many hands and feet on the doors and windows, we tried to raise awareness. Suddenly a crashing sound rose above our noise and everyone's awareness was raised.

It was the classic moment of silence; not an easy accomplishment from a crowd of nearly 30 teenagers. Voices fell silent and no one moved, myself included, as we looked wide-eyed for the source of the crash we heard. Peering down through the side window next to the locked door, I caught sight of a foot and a shin on the other side of the glass. At about that moment, everyone else noticed the same. That offending foot and shin, now inside the school that we all had been so desperate to get into just a moment earlier was my own. Damn.

Most glass used in the doors and windows around the doors of the school had been reinforced with a wire grid; however, I found the one which wasn't, nor was this glass tempered. In my effort to get the attention of those inside, I had been pounding the upper window with my fists and kicking the lower pane with the foot I could now clearly see on the other side of the glass. I may not have been the only one kicking that window, but I was the only one whose foot broke through it. It was pure luck I didn't cut myself badly.

Have your ever tripped onstage? Audibly passed gas in church? Belched at a solemn family gathering-maybe a funeral? Streaked the lunchroom? Have you ever grabbed absolute, wide eyed attention from a silenced crowd of people? 30 sets of eyes stared at me in shocked silence while I stared back in similar amazement. For a few moments, no words were said and no body moved. As if cued by a starter firing off his pistol, my classmates scattered to the four winds. Running as fast from implication in my crime as their legs could carry them, they scattered east and west sprinting around the corners and out of sight and away from the broken window. Summer break was here, and no one wanted a complication like this at the last possible moment.

After taking a moment to assess my options I came to the conclusion my classmates were right, and I too left the scene. I ran past theater and boy's locker room, around the foreign language wing, and up through the old courtyard which, until the year before had been the student's "smoking lounge"-yes, there was a time when students has a smoking area at school. There were a couple sets of doors to the courtyard which were unlocked and I ran inside one. Likely it was that my nerves were on edge, because I had never been so winded after running so short a distance, and I was a letter winning track sprinter. Huffing deep breaths, I went upstairs.

Before I reached my locker, the final bell rang and the classrooms belched out their riotous students into a mass hallway frenzy. Kids tossing paper from their lockers and into the common passageways, ripping up old folders, tearing up old Trapper Keepers and shredding the occasional textbook; kicking piles of old assignments into the air or throwing paper wads at one another. A year's excitement reaches its peek in that one moment at the very end of every school year and makes for a fun celebration for students and teachers-and a huge mess for the custodians to clean. I just dumped my trash, grabbed my personal property and made for the door.

North High, like many school had a reputation for minor vandalism. Often it was done under the veil of school spirit such as when my class tore apart the bleachers at the football field on the first day of senior year (to be clear, I was not involved). Or the class before us who stole the school's mounted bell and the Class of 1988 who fertilized their spirit onto the hillside grass by tennis courts, long to remind those who remained of their perceived greatness. Obviously some vandalism could not be thought of as school spirit gone retarded, such as the damage caused by the frequent cafeteria food fights or worse like spray painted lockers, carved or broken desks and graffiti on bathroom stall walls. Hey, it happens.

Then there was the third category of vandalism; damage done by accident, and I've fallen into that category more than once. Earlier that same year, after coming back from lunch, I ripped the door knob off a classroom door. It wasn't that big a deal. Grab, twist, jerk, snap!; one half of the knob assembly in my hand, the other falling to the classroom floor behind the door. It took about an hour to find a custodian and let the fully gathered class and unhappy teacher into the locked classroom. While it was understood that it was an accident, I has held responsible, and made to pay for the new door knob. It didn't matter the reason for the vandalism; school spirit, maliciousness or a genuine accident. You broke it, you bought it. With that in mind, I walked the long four blocks home.

It wasn't long before it dawned on me that there were 30 witnesses to what I had done, and that the chances than none of them would rat me out was slightly better than the chances of winning the lottery. It really was only a matter of time before I or worse, my mom got the call about the broken window at the school, and how would that look? I dropped my bag off at home, turned on my heels and walked straight back to confess and face the music. I knew this was going to cost more than a door knob.

When I arrived back at school, the busses were gone, as were the majority of students. Most halls were ankle deep in paper while some of the older, narrower hallways had trash piled to the knees with drifts like snow sometimes tossed up even higher. It was like walking through a wading pool as discarded paper was swept away and often rolled back as I walked. Arriving at the main office I asked to see the vice principle. I had sins to confess, and they let me in.

Glass shards, bluish under the glow of the florescent light, were neatly placed on the vice principle's desk, and from behind it, she seemed none to happy. Ms. Wadeln was the vice principle in charge of students whose last names began N-Z. She could alternate between jovial and stern with little time for transition, as I had known time and again. Corporal punishment had long since gone out of favor in schools and only a few years previous had been outlawed in the state. However, it would not surprise me if she hadn't been one of its last practitioners and lamented its passing into educational history. The school was a mess from one far flung end to the other, and now one of the exterior windows was shattered. Having been no stranger to her office, I knew the stern look of Ms. Waldeln, The Disciplinarian and this didn't look good.

I took a deep breath and took a chance, spitting out the details of how I busted the window. With glass on the desk, she obviously knew the window was shattered, what I didn't know was whether she knew I had done it. Hopefully this preemptive confession would weigh favorably with her. Hopefully she would see it as just a broken window, and nothing too serious.

They say confession is good for the soul. Confession is also good for hard-nosed disciplinarians. Not more than 20 minutes had passed since I booted the window, and it hadn't taken long for one of my classmates to rat me out for the crime. Ms. Waldeln already knew everything. I doubt all the glass shards had fallen from the frame by the time Ms. Waldeln knew the who, the what, and the where. The only thing she needed from me was to confirm the why; and to own up to it. It may have surprised her that I was there as quick as I was, confessing of my own free will. After all, I could have gone home for the summer and tried to say it wasn't me.

Ms. Waldeln thanked me for my forthrightness and sent me home for the year. Historically, Ms. Waldeln was tough with me, but she let this one go. No punishment, no (new) stain in my permanent record, no reimbursing the taxpayers for my misplaced foot. I took a shard from her desk as a souvenir that I've kept since, buried in some old box somewhere, and I went home. Until the day I graduated and left North High behind, I never had another reason to be in Ms. Waldeln's office.
Last edited by Tremors on 28 Apr 2017, 16:21, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Polaralum » 23 Jul 2007, 16:19

Wow--what a great story!
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Postby Tremors » 24 Jul 2007, 10:52

Thanks PA.

Regale us with your tales POLAR Alum. I bet you have something good to share.
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Postby Polaralum » 24 Jul 2007, 21:46

Me????????????

I was an absolute angel!
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Postby Tremors » 25 Jul 2007, 00:21

Yeah...I'll buy into that!
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Postby Agitator » 25 Jul 2007, 13:13

Tremors wrote:Yeah...I'll buy into that!

I don't :)
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Postby Tremors » 25 Jul 2007, 13:40

Shhh Agitator...I don't want her to suspect that I don't believe her.
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Postby Polaralum » 25 Jul 2007, 14:10

My avatar may have Vikings horns, but my real persona has a halo. Especially my North High persona.
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Postby Tremors » 25 Jul 2007, 15:22

Ah-oh! She caught us 'tater, run!!!
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Postby Tremors » 25 Jul 2007, 15:24

C'mon PA, you either did something or you have first hand knowledge of something that makes for a worthy School Story.
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Postby Tremors » 25 Jul 2007, 16:00

Better you than me! Discipline, Old School style.

When I was at John Glenn Jr High, I was trouble. Not exactly a whirling ball of delinquency and destruction, but a known pain in the ass of academia. Still, when I got in trouble ("Well hello again Mr. Klinkerfuse! Did you cut your hair? Looks good on you."), punishment may have been unpleasant but when finished, it was over. One poor bastard in school had to live down his brief, yet very public discipline for years.

Hundreds of us unruly kids were chattering away in between stuffing our mouths with the finest of lunchroom cuisine when one guy got it into his head to start throwing food. Had he waited a couple more years, he could have participated in some of North High's famous, ceiling replacement style food fights, but on this day, no one responded except for one of the faculty. This particular faculty member was often seen with a smile on his face, yet with the firmness of a coach demanding respect, when it came to foolishness this person was a no nonsense individual. Since I am not aware of his current situation, I will not name names (obviously he's a male), but he would go one to head the athletic department of one of the district high schools. It was a natural fit for this person.

This particular faculty member told the young miscreant to settle down. The miscreant's response was less than respectful, and the faculty member's patience was clearly at an end; it was time to go to the office. However, in a mood of defiance, this young lunchroom thug decided a physical confrontation would allow him to hold his ground and remain long enough to enjoy the parts of his lunch not tossed at the kids nearby. That plan didn't work out too well for him.

Without saying a word, this faculty member grabbed the young man by his flailing shoulders and held his arms firmly to his sides, and then with one quick jerk, he lifted the punk off the ground. He turned to the large, gray garbage can behind him, and without much effort, turned the kid upside down and in front of God and the entire school lunchroom, dumped the little jerk head first into the half full can of garbage! Needless to say, he came out of the garbage can a lot less clean than when he went in.
Last edited by Tremors on 28 Apr 2017, 16:21, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby Tremors » 27 Jul 2007, 16:32

Better you than me! Discipline, Old School style part 2. :

Mr. Gus has long since retired, but I had the good fortune to run into him at the North High 100 year celebration Open House in 2005. We got to talking about the past; he was as gruff as I remember, yet there was a graciousness about him. I doubt he remembered me from gym class or from driver's ed, yet he knew me as one of the legions of young people he encountered in an educational career spanning nearly 50 years. He could make an impression on a kid. On some kids, he could make a real impression.

Gus was very much "old school" in his approach to things. I knew his reputation long before I went to that school. He apparently had a rather successful career as North's head football coach a few years before, and those same coach like qualities he brought to his classes. Do what he says or deal with the consequences, and there's no point in whining about it.

As a young sophomore, he was my gym teacher. The single most remarkable event from that class I retold to ol' Gus at the reunion, hoping that that might spark a memory; it was more telling to me that it didn't. So many years, so many kids, so many times he must have laid down some "old school" law.

I had been friends with a guy named Chad. Chad was a taller, stockier teenager than many others in our class. Not fat, not thin, not overly muscular, just physically built bigger than most of us and sporting a mustache before he could drive a car. He, like me, occasionally got into some trouble. He, like me, had authority issues. Unlike me, he decided to turn his back on Gus after choosing to publicly defy him after committing some egregious violation of the rules. One should always be mindful when deciding who to "lip off" to.

With a single finger held high above his head, Chad defiantly walked away from Gus, and never looked back. He was going to show Gus what respect meant to him. If Chad had looked back, he would have realized that by the time he had put about 25 to 30 feet between himself and Gus, the old gym teacher had picked up the basketball at his feet, cocked his arm back, and pitched that red rubber globe straight at him. Chad never saw it coming. As he stepped away, the basketball shot between the assembled students and found its mark square at the back of Chad's head. It dropped him like a stone. All things considered, it was one heck of a shot.

THUOINK!

The ball bounced off into the expanse of the gym as Chad's head jerked forward and his body followed; all the way to the floor. Surprised and with stinging embarrassment, Chad slowly stood up and stared wide eyed at Mr. Gustafson. Without missing a beat, Gus told Chad that now was his time to leave.

With a few bitter words spat under his breath, Chad stomped out of the gym. I know I learned something in that class. Don't get out of line with Gus!
Last edited by Tremors on 28 Apr 2017, 16:24, edited 4 times in total.
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Postby disgruntled » 28 Jul 2007, 14:45

Poof!
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Postby disgruntled » 28 Jul 2007, 14:49

Poof!
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