Tuesday, June 12, 2007

School Bully...

September 1968 and the 11 year old Jerrychicken starts his prestigious senior school career, nearly 40 years later they still speak of me now at that learning establishment, they say "who ?" when you mention my name.

A class of 30 adolescent boys, seated in five rows of six desks in alphabetical order, all attendees garnered via the 11 plus exam from schools all over Leeds and randomly placed into four such classrooms, what are the chances that four school bully's could end up sitting in four adjacent desks at the back right hand corner of our classroom ?

Believe it or not, thats what happened, four individuals who had made a good living from bullying at their former separate junior schools found themselves neighbours in our class and it didn't take too long for their nefarious ways to surface in the form of a very lucrative protection racket where beatings were postponed for monetary exchange and sweets that had earlier been stolen in huge quantities from the dateless old biddy who ran the post office down the road were sold for cash - the Corleone family had nothing on these guys.

I realised very early in my senior school career that life certainly favours those who know people in high places - the bully ring leader's dad played snooker with my dad at their club and this link meant that I had a no-bully embargo placed on my head, other boys weren't so lucky though and the surreptitious beatings continued right through the first year until in the summer term someone cracked and told their parent, who in turn informed the school.

What happened next has always impressed me as the perfect and final solution to school bully's, its probably the only thing that I respected our headmaster, Cheesy Holland (see what we did there, cheese, Holland, no ? ), for.

Seated in class one lazy, hot summers afternoon, each boy dozing gently off to sleep while some random master droned on at the front about some random subject that only he was interested in, the door burst open and Cheesy Holland strode at full speed into the room, his black master gown flowing in the breeze and almost getting trapped in the rebounding door.

He had a small box with him, the box that chalk was delivered in, and several sheets of paper which he proceeded to tear into strips whilst informing us that he was well aware that a mafiosa stylee protection racket was operating in the class and that we were about to partake in a secret ballot to name and shame them, the ballot papers were handed out, filled in then collected back in the box and in a grand moment of high drama Cheesy stood at the front and read the same four names off 26 strips of paper, strangely enough finding four pieces of paper that were blank.

It was a unanimous ballot, the four miscreants were ousted and were paraded in front of a whole assembly of the school the following morning so that the 500 older boys in the school could have their opportunity to offer counselling to them in the form of daily beatings and muggings, Cheesy more or less allowed carte blanche at "re-educating the bullies" as he made it clear that had he not been banned from corporal punishment the previous year then he would have caned them on stage at that assembly, instead the punishment decisions were passed down the ranks to the older boys, and were duly administered.

It worked, they never bullied again.

One of them even works as a psychiatric nurse now, so maybe he still gets his kicks there.

It wasn't all good news thought - our cheap sweeties supply dried up pretty quickly.

Full Jerrychicken's School Days story here.

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