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Window of Black and White

Asher writes about his difficulty finding a supportive, safe school environment

Second grade did not go well, but my story begins in first grade.

In first grade, my teacher was strict and made me think I could not read. I did not like reading to myself. I still don’t like reading out loud. My friends from kindergarten the year before were not in my class. We grew apart. And my twin, Emmett, was in a class for special education that year. Emmett was literally unlearning stuff. The school said he was just stupid. When my parents told the school he had dyslexia, they said, “No, he is just stupid. That’s why he’s not in regular classes.” My parents went to a man whose job was diagnosing people with dyslexia. He said that Emmett had dyslexia. After a long time arguing with the school, they gave up. So, in second grade he went to special school.

I felt upset and annoyed with the school. Second grade was not a good year for me. That year, I met Bully 1 and Bully 2. Bully 2 was Bully 1’s lackey. Bully 1 was big with a little hair that was black on his head. Bully 2 was small and had dark hair. I met Bully 1 and thought he was a nice guy. He wasn’t. He hurt me physically and that hurt me mentally and I stopped making friends. Then I had no friends. I did not tell my parents because I felt it would not help.

But it continued. I became meaner after a month or so of this. Finally, I told my parents everything. My parents told the school, and the school did nothing. I was upset. I decided I needed to do something. After a day of thinking it over many times, I finally decided. I decided to waste the school water supply. I used the water fountain when I wasn’t drinking anything. The school didn’t seem to know anything was going on, but I kept doing it. Bully 1 was bored because I wasn’t playing with him anymore. He decided to act as though he had given up his evil ways. I fell for it, so he beat me up. The principal was walking around nearby when they were beating me up and came close but did nothing.

That day, I decided I needed to do something big. So I clogged the sinks and toilets and left wet toilet paper on the ground. Everyone noticed that, and no one thought I did it. They blamed some other kid. I thought my school was going to be so unhappy. They acted as though nothing had happened.

I saw that the kids all looked nice enough, but you can’t tell how nice people are from their looks.

My school was still doing nothing about the bullies. I was still upset. My parents told me to stay home from school. So I stayed at home while the other kids were at school. My school said they would fix it.

I went back to school in December. I was at PE when the PE teacher told me to be in a group with Bully 1 and Bully 2.

I thought nothing would happen here, but I was very wrong. The bullies called me names and hurt me. I told my parents about PE that day. They were very upset. They told the school, “You didn’t tell the PE teacher.”

The school said, “We didn’t think we needed to do that.” I did not go to school the next day or the day after that. My parents argued with the school. In the end, in February, they decided to send me to a different school that was closer to our house.

The first day I went to the other school, I was scared and did not want to go. I wanted to stay home with my parents. My dad drove me to the school. I saw a lot of kids playing outside before the bell went off. My parents had told me what class I was in. It was Ms. Denue’s class. I saw that the kids all looked nice enough, but you can’t tell how nice people are from their looks. The bell rang and everyone lined up. I said bye to my dad and followed a line which my dad had told me to line up in. I followed the line to a classroom with a sign that said “19.” I filed into the classroom and saw my teacher for the first time.

She was an older woman with long hair that was turning white. She said, “Please take your seats, class. We have a new student today.”

Everyone stared at me. I was getting nervous. The teacher told me to come to the front of the class. I obeyed. In the front of class, my teacher said, “Can you please introduce yourself?”

I said, “I’m Asher.”

Everyone said hi. They all introduced themselves. My teacher told me her name.

This was late second grade. I made friends soon after that with three kids. By late third grade, I started to think they were not nice and stopped hanging out with them. They were upset that I wasn’t hanging out with them anymore and made a comic book that called me “toilet head.” One of the kids outright lied about the comic book. The other two started crying and felt remorse and admitted to it when they were questioned by my mom. Even though this happened, third grade was one of my favorite years because I had a really good teacher named Ms. Casey.

After third grade, my parents made me go to a new school for fourth grade. The teacher was named Ms. Katrina. I made friends with two kids called Ronan and Calvin. I have much more in common with these friends than with the friends I had before. Ronan and Calvin like chess. We like to play similar games and talk about stuff I like to talk about. They are nice.

It was a good year, and now I am in fifth grade. My teacher is Ms. Sharp. Ronan and Calvin are still in my class. I think fifth grade will be a good year.

Asher Jenvey
Asher Jenvey, 10
Mountain View, CA

Anya Geist
Anya Geist, 13
Worcester, MA