No, endgame doesn’t mean I’m writing my final post on this subject. Instead it is the title of a very good book by Nancy Garden. It is the story of Gray Wilton, a boy who is bullied so badly that he feels that his only recourse is to get a gun and shoot his bullies dead. In this post, I am looking at the two teachers who figure prominently in the story and deciding their role in the bullying which Gray suffers.
First let’s take Mr Halifax, the music teacher. He is the one teacher who shows sympathy towards Gray’s plight and builds a rapport with him on account of Gray’s ability on the drums. When Gray finds his drums sliced to ribbons just before the big Christmas concert, it is Mr Halifax who offers Gray support and promises to bring the culprits to justice. In the book, this teacher is painted out to be a real caring person, which he is. However, even with the offers of assistance, Gray doesn’t want to trust him. Maybe it’s because he believes the efforts would be ineffectual or because and this is the more likely reason, that he fears a bigger backlash from the bullies. In either case, it must be asked if Mr Halifax non insistence on pursuing the matter further has an impact on the bullying that occurs after. It’s hard to say because the bullies feel they are untouchable to begin with.
Now we will look at the PE teacher, Mr Vee. Those who can remember way back when I looked at Jodi Picoult’s “19 Minutes,” might remember that the PE teacher was involved in the story as well. Does this mean all PE teacher encourage bullying? I’ll explore that question another time. In “Endgame,” Ross, the friend of Gray, appeals to Mr Vee for help after the first bullying incident. The gym teacher’s responses are “Sticks and stones” and later, “Football is a rough game.” It is obvious, that Mr Vee has no interest in dealing with the bullying and there is a lot of evidence to support the fact that it is because the bullies in question are athletes giving further support that the jocks can bully who they want without reprisal. So, did Mr Vee encourage the bullying of Gray? Okay, he didn’t openly tell the bullies to go after Gray but his lack of interest in dealing with the matter certainly gave the bullies the belief that they could do what they like without consequences and that lead to bloodshed.
I’m not getting on the cases of teachers here, after all, I am one myself. I know they are overworked and underpaid and constantly criticized by the conservative press. However, the non insistence of Mr Halifax although I can envision that the school probably didn’t handle the investigation of the destruction of the drums properly and the “Boys will be boys” attitude of Mr Vee did encourage the bullying of Gray. So, in the sense of the story in “Endgame,” teachers do encourage bullying even if they don’t openly do so.
Next post: Same question but with “Rupture”
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1416394965&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird