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I stood just inside the classroom door at my junior school with a miserable look on my face. My mother was talking to my teacher about my schoolwork. The teacher looked at me in a patronising way and said the words that will be imprinted in my memory until the day I die, "If she can't spell now, she will NEVER be able to spell." Tears welled in my six year-old eyes. I felt doomed.
Skip a few years forward to when I was about nine. I was chosen to sing a solo In the school concert over another girl called Alex. She was furious with this and made my life hell. I was depressed and thinking about suicide, but her taunts went on and on until one day I snapped. She was in the middle of teasing me about something or other and I just couldn't take it anymore so I pulled my arm back and gave her a huge SLAP across the face. She just stood there staring at me. "That's how you make me feel!" I yelled at her and then ran away crying.
Later in the day I was called to her class by the teacher and forced to apologise to her in front of her class. The teacher didn't even appear to be interested in my side of the story, she just believed her favourite student. I remember everyone staring at me and feeling like I wanted to die.
Skip forward some more years to when I was in middle school. This boy called Euan rang me up and bullied me into prank calling one of our teachers. I really didn't want to do this and felt terrible about it later, but peer pressure can be quite overwhelming. I confessed what had happened to my mum who called the teacher and apologised for me. Apparently all was well and he said that he wouldn't mention it. So I thought it was over - until the next day at school. He stood me up in front of the whole class and interrogated me about what happened. That was bad enough, but he then proceeded to yell at me and say horrible cruel things that made me feel even worse. The final straw was when he told all the other teachers about it and by then I hated myself so much that I came home in tears. My mum was very angry at him because he told her one thing and did another and the school principal couldn't do anything about it. So basically it was all forgotten by everyone except me. I never did receive any kind of apology.
I am in high school now and looking back I am disgusted at how these "professionals in education" got away with such cruelty. I am 15 now so it wasn't exactly a long time ago and these events have had a profound effect on my state of mind. For a while I lapsed into a serious depression and thought frequently about taking my own life. My parents didn't notice because I hid it well enough for them to think that it was "just hormones". I came very close several times and if I didn't have my best friend John around, I would probably be just another statistic.
You may think that things like this don't go on nowadays, but how sure are you?