Thursday, April 19, 2007

Courting disaster

Whenever there is a tragedy like the massacre at Virginia Tech, it makes me think of one particular kid I went to high school with. Let’s call him “Junior.”

If you asked me to pick the kid from my class most likely to go on a shooting rampage, I’d say it was Junior.

My town is fairly affluent. But Junior came from the “other side of the tracks.” He was quiet, a little awkward and didn’t seem to have too many friends (any of this sound familiar?).

I also remember him getting picked on a lot. And not just by students. Junior was in my freshman math class and was a favorite target of our teacher’s ridicule. I remember he used to poke fun of Junior almost every day right in front of the whole class.

That seemed be this teacher’s schtick. He would single out a kid in each of his classes and pick on him with a variation of his usual set of insults. In my class it was Junior.

Even back then I remember thinking that this teacher was a jerk and kind of a bully—especially for the way he treated Junior. But I never did anything. If I had it to over again, I would go to this teacher and tell him to ease up on the kid. It probably wouldn’t have hurt also to befriend Junior try to get to know him better.

Seeing horrible events like Columbine and Virginia Tech, and given what we eventually learn about the students pulling the triggers, it seems like back then our math teacher—and all of us really, by our actions or inactions—were courting disaster.

I have no idea where Junior is now or how he turned out. I don’t mean to paint him as potential homicidal lunatic—that’s why I didn’t use his real name. I’m just saying that I see certain parallels when these cases happen. High school couldn’t have been easy for him. So when these things happen, I count my blessings—and even though he didn’t snap, I still wish I stepped up for Junior.


Shannon said...

I can definitely think of a "junior" from my class as well...and even at my college.

I think we all can. Scary isn't it?

Heck, I can even think of someone I used to work with!!!

Aaron Hull said...

What's really scarry is this teacher was able to do this and not get fired. Chris told me who the teacher was last night and although I never had him, I always thought he (the teacher) was an obnoxious jerk. A lot of students liked this teacher but I always saw him as being unprofessional and not worthy of being a teacher.

Roon said...

Thanks for clarifying that you don't think I'm an obnoxious jerk.

Shannon said...

I'll have to get clarification via email because I thought I knew WHICH teacher he was referring to. Now I'm not so sure.

I can think of two or three teachers of our era that this could refer to.

Oh Chris, like anyone could describe YOU as an obnoxious jerk. Obnoxious maybe, but certainly not a jerk. (And I mean that in the most affectionate way of course)

And see? Still not arrested. (See Chris for details)

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