It is now obvious that my series on teachers encouraging bullying hasn’t quite run its course. Recently, another aspect of this series arose when I held a book presentation at a school. Two pupils, the librarian and her assistant had read “He Was Weird” and their general observation on it was that it was well written but disturbing in some places. While they weren’t in complete agreement as who was responsible for Mark’s rampage, as they all cited a series of different people and each list had someone different to the others. However, there was universal agreement on the responsibility of the teachers in the book having had an influence on the bullying that Mark suffers and they all cited his fifth grade teacher Miss Erichetti.
From their very first meeting, it is clear that Miss Erichetti has a dislike for Mark. If you read the post about teachers encouraging bullying in regards to the story, it is clear that her treatment of him only encourages the bullies. What I didn’t mention was the box. The teacher reasons with his mother that it might help Mark if he is desk his put in a large cardboard box on the grounds that it might help him to pay attention. Of course, she rejects any notion that he may suffer from Asperger’s Syndrome or D.A.M.P. Thinking it would be best for him, his mother agrees to this. Therefore, he is placed inside a large cardboard booth, desk and all. It is a few weeks later that we learn of Miss Erichetti’s true intentions for putting Mark in such a contraption when she threatens another student by saying, “I put him in the box so I couldn’t see him,” pointing at the box.
Naturally, the rest of the class pick up on the fact that Mark is now in the box and it intensifies the bullying. Furthermore, the class enjoy telling others in the school about him being in the box. They also use it to get him in trouble by telling the teacher on him whenever he pokes his head outside. Then there is the Valentine’s Day party when the children are passing out the candy and snacks to the rest of the class and Mark getting left out. One student apologises by saying he forgot about him because of his being in the box but the apology somehow seems hollow. The ordeal only ends when Mark is beaten up by two boys and his bicycle destroyed. It is then that his mother insists that he is to be taken out of the box but the damage is already done.
I’m not even going to ask the question as to whether Mark being put inside the box encouraged bullying. Of course it did. The fact that he was isolated not only ate away at him but the pupils use it as yet another tool in their bullying arsenal. Another reason why I know is because it actually happened to me. That part of the story is directly drawn from that experience. Those younger than me may be asking why didn’t my mother sue. The reason was that at first, she bought the myth that it would help me. Furthermore, it was 1972 and suing schools was something that wasn’t done.
Next post: If Jesus Met Mohammed
To buy He Was Weird, go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1422303710&sr=8-1&keywords=he+was+weird