Now that the holidays are over and I hope you all had a happy one, I can return to my theme of how schools in the novels I post about handled the bullying mentioned within them. When I visited the story “Endgame” by the late Nancy Garden, I stated that had the story been real life, it would be the most damning of any school in its failure to tackle bullying within it. Since refamiliarising myself with “Rupture” by Simon Lelic, I think that “Endgame” has a competitor in the most damning of the school sweepstakes.
For those new to Peaceful Rampage, “Rupture” is about school teacher Samuel Sajikowski, who is so badly bullied by both another teacher and pupils, that one day he snaps and goes into his school and shoots three pupils and a teacher dead before turning the gun on himself. As the story unravels, we find that Sam may have been driven to commit his crime by all the bullying he was subjected to.
First, let’s look at the teacher. The PE teacher made Samuel’s life a misery from day one after Samuel insists his name is Samuel and not Sam. After that, the PE teacher plays all sorts of tricks on him and does everything to make Samuel’s life hell including getting him in trouble with the Head by telling Samuel that teachers were allowed to wear jeans on Friday. The bullying only gets worse after that.
If a bullying teacher isn’t bad enough, most of the pupils also bully Sam. The chief of these pupil bullies is a boy named Donovan Stanley, whom the Head has already written off as someone who will leave the school, get a girl pregnant and live in a council house off the public purse. Stanley leads his fellow pupils to wreck Samuel’s bike and poo in his briefcase. The fusion of teacher and pupil bullying come together when at a student-teacher football match, Stanley and another pupil intentionally break Samuel’s leg. After the deed is done, the boy who recounts the story says the PE teacher gave them both a sly wink.
This is a good place to start about the school’s lack of concern over the bullying. Here we have a clear cut case of assault, even grievous bodily harm and the school does nothing about. The one boy thought he’d at least get a detention but didn’t even get that. Instead, there’s no mention of the school doing anything, not even an investigation. Then there’s the case of the ‘Bum Blog.’ This is an invention by some pupils who set up a blog intentionally created to humiliate Samuel. The school does nothing with the Head citing free speech. Even when Samuel does try to get help, the Head basically tells him to man up and get on with it offering him no support. My conclusion is that the school is just as responsible for the events that led up to Samuel going into an packed assembly one day and shooting three pupils and a teacher dead.
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=1515440811&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird