It came to me this morning that I do this for my father too.
I was on my way to
his office. It was time. Dead man walking.
"Do you know what's going on here?" I asked an assistant
principal as I passed her office. She was the assistant principal who had not completely folded to the sick leadership of
that school; the one who had come to me once far away from the other offices-made a special trip to see me in my office way
at the end of the third floor-and said, "There are forces at work here, Kim. They are hard to understand."
Still, though, in our district's investigation following my report--two ethics
charges were brought against him--even she couldn't remember anything. Couldn't remember the "SHUT UP! THIS IS
MY SCHOOL!!!" screaming. Couldn't recall the profanity either.
felt bad about "not remembering." Probably wasn't safe for her to remember.
conversation followed his cavalier and arbitrary halt of my bullying prevention efforts ("I don't have a bullying problem
here," he once told me). It followed my astonishment. It followed weeks of organization on my part. After
accepting the $8,000 materials and training Olweus grant--he "pulled the plug." Poof. It was gone.
He'd use Olweus
though, later, as evidence of bullying prevention in the law suit. That's the lawsuit that required a "Bullying
and Harassment" checklist. That's the checklist of ten items I refused to fill out fraudulently. That's the
checklist that the next day, without my knowledge, was fill out by his counselor friend. That's the check list that
used my name and my work as evidence for most of the requirements. That's the check list of required bullying prevention activities
that did not happen.
That's the check list my district used to betray me.
prevention is this much of what I expect of you." He, who stated he'd "never been alone with me," was alone
with me then as he grinned menacingly at me with his thumb and forefinger less than an inch apart.
I simply cannot
put to words, even now more than two years later, the screaming fear that filled me as I walked towards his office my last
day there. Is this how a rabbit in the field feels upon glancing up and seeing the hawk's talons extended? A woman right
before the fist again punches her belly?
I suffered over his decision to halt our Olweus program. Oh! How
amused I am. I suffered over THAT?! More and more and more suffering was yet to come.
do know. May the blood of Jesus cover you." This with her hands raised to the heavens. Eyes closed.
I entered his
I was not comforted with her prayer. I was freaked out and crazy.
I've since learned of the detrimental physical effects of ongoing stress, such as the stress of being bullied by my principal
and his sycophants. There are studies that talk of chromosome caps called telomeres. Stress frays them. My telomeres--I
assure you--were frayed.
So I entered his conference room with my frayed telomeres, sleepless
eyes, pale skin and clenched jaw, all covered in Jesus' blood. Having frayed telomeres was not a good thing. Being
covered in the blood was. Though raised in a Christian home, I'd never really felt God's protective power. I didn't
in that moment either. It's been since then, in the healing of the last two and one half years that I have begun to
understand its peace, its truth, and its strength.
No one is promised rose gardens and that school, tended by that gardening
principal, most certainly was not a rose garden.
I remember saying once spontaneously to the other assistant principal-the
one who had absolutely and completely folded, "I am not scared." That was early on.
She used to
say, " I love my boss." She most often said it when his counselor friend was nearby. That way she, the AP,
could most assure he would hear of her affection.
"I am not scared." I still don't know why I said that.
God, even without my consciousness of it, was already seeing me through.
principal suffered a lot. She often told me she believed she was put there to "save" him. There wasn't
much saving going on though. He used her to sign off on many of his false documents. He used her to witness his
abuse. Her name is on many papers. Many of those papers destroyed people's careers and their lives.
During the worst
of my hell there, I once dreamed of a dog; a mutt. It was a fleeting dream, yet it was clear. The dog's fur in
the dream was matted. The dog was starving. It snarled and yapped. It represented, I think, all the suffering,
innerly yapping educators at that school. Some simply could not abide me outwardly saying, "This is not fair. Let's
do something about it." They snarled at me. Tried to bite me.