Grade 9, when I phoned 1.800.668.6868

When I was in Grade 9 I phoned Kids Help Phone, in honor of Today being Walk So Kids Can Talk, here is my story.

As my readers know, I have been bullied for my whole life, until grade 9 I felt safe(ish) when the class teacher was around. I made a point of sitting as close to the teacher as I could. Grade 9 started the same, I walked into all my classes ready to ignore the taunts, sat at the front of the class near the middle of the room to position myself close to the teacher to avoid bullying.

This year was exciting, as Grade 9 was the year I, as a student, could start taking band class. In Elementry school, and growing up music was an escape for me, an escape of the torment my everyday school life was, escape from the bullies. I was in choir, recorder club and every musical extracurricular could. I had spent the summer before grade 9 teaching my self how to play the flute, which I had saved up all my money from the past year to buy. I had taught myself backwards, however. But it was beginning band, some students had never played an instrument before.

I walked in, holding my flute, ready to play. The first week was great, I was learning how to play, then my flute broke. The school had no extra’s so my Band Teacher, Mrs. Thorn* lent me hers, once I got the news that there was more wrong with my flute then we thought, she changed her mind and no longer let me use hers. She handed me a box one morning and told me that I will NOT be participating in class, but instead packing the music library into boxes for the schools move. The next day the same, and the next, and the next, and the next. A few weeks passed of me, cleaning and packing during class, and my flute was fixed, but now I was weeks behind. My teacher’s solution to this? Not tutoring, or extra help, or assigning a buddy to help. NO! Her solution was placing me in the small room, which I could not spread my arms across, called the “practice room”, she gave me a book and had me read it and practice. As I was practicing I could see the class, learning and having fun, through a small window in the wall.
From this day on I would arrive to class, walk through the door and Mrs. Thorn would lock eyes with me, and point to the room. I was segregated from the rest of the class.

She began getting frustrated with me, not learning from the book. She would not allow me to go to the washrooms, and frequently when the break bell would ring during double block days, she would come into the room before I could leave and make me practice through my tears of anxiety, and fear. She would tell me music, and band, was not for me I should try an easier course like art, which made me cry harder. Once I was crying she would make me match pitch, which my Mom told me to record. I have recordings of my self matching this pitch, through sobs and her telling me it was not matched.

When I would stand u and try to leave she would physically, take my shoulder and push me back down onto my chair. I felt stuck, scared and alone. The Teacher would tell me she thought I was mentally handicapped, and that my parents should have me checked. She even wrote this on my midterm report card.

Nearly every day I phoned my Mom for help, I gave the Vice Principal and Principal the recordings of the teacher saying these things to me, and I would get in trouble for recording her.

Throughout all my Mothers efforts, the teacher’s torments, and abuse happened until the last day of class. Despite reporting it, I suffered segregation and verbal abuse and developed Anxiety because of Mrs. Thorn. Until her last day at the school when I passed her I get Anxiety attacks, I never trusted any teacher the same again, even if I see her to this day in the community I begin to panic.

Alongside my Mom, and family supporting me through this hard time, at school I phoned Kids Help Phone, 1.800.668.6868, getting the number off a candy wrapper. I was able to use there life chat and phone services to talk with someone. I chatted with them while I was in the “room”, they helped me feel supported and less alone. They let me know that what was happening to me was not okay, and was illegal. They let me know it was not because of me and reminded me every time I spoke or chatted with them that I will get through it, even though at the time it felt endless.

Thank you Kids Help Phone for your support during my hard time!

If you need help or just someone to talk to please, 1.800.668.6868, or text “CONNECT” to 686868

*Name changed

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