If the occurrences in the novels on bullying and school shootings had actually happened in real life, then what happens in “Endgame” by the late Nancy Garden would be the most damning of any school in any of the stories. In “Endgame,” the bullying starts almost straight away as the protagonist, Gray Wilton and his friend are set upon by senior football players, led by alpha-male, Zorro. However, when Gray reports the bullying to Mr Vee, the PE teacher, the teacher’s response is “sticks and stones.” Later on the story he tries to further justify his lack of action on Gray’s plight by saying, “Boys will be boys.”
Sadly, this seems to be the state of affairs in American high schools. The jocks are mollycoddled and patted on the head for abusing the “freaks” and “weirdos.” Like in so many cases, Mr Vee didn’t want to get involved in the situation because it involved his boys, the football players. However, Mr Vee isn’t the only teacher guilty of doing nothing to stop the bullying hell Gray was going through. Later on in the story, Gray conveys to his lawyer how teachers would stay in the classrooms so they could remain oblivious to any bullying happening out in the school halls and therefore not have to deal with it. Furthermore, when Gray comes to school in the mornings, there are no teachers in the area giving Zorro and his cronies carte blanche to do whatever they want and they do make Gray’s life hell. Eventually, he takes back ways and hidden passages into school so he can avoid the bullies. What we have here is a school that pretends they don’t know that bullying is going on in their school because of the fear it might get the star football player into trouble.
There is one teacher who shows Gray some support, that is the music teacher who tutors him because of his ability to play the drums. However, this teacher’s efforts are limited. One reason is because Gray’s father thinks his son playing the drums are a waste of time. The other is when Gray’s drum kit is destroyed before the big Christmas music show, he immediately knows that Zorro is responsible. The teacher seems to believe Gray. However, when Zorro is exonerated, he gets his revenge on Gray by forcing him to drink paint. No teacher is anywhere to witness this and the music teacher is powerless to do anymore.
The multi-million dollar question is: With no support from the bullying by a school that doesn’t seem to want to know, is it any wonder that Gray took matters into his own hands? I’ll be the first to say that going into a school with a gun and shooting those who have wronged him was not the solution to the problem. Taking a life never is. However, if I was one of the victims or their parent, I would be tempted to sue the school on the grounds that their non actions in preventing the bullying contributed to the later atrocity. The school knew about the bullying and did nothing by pretending it didn’t know. That’ just not acceptable and though this is a book, I can see it happening out there in the real world.
To buy He Was Weird, go to: https://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1513883369&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird