For as long as I can remember I use to love going to school. I got straight A’s, the teachers loved me, and I loved them. And yet somehow as I grew older my love for school began to grow into hate. And this is certainly not the fault of the teachers. No, rather it is the fault of certain students.
I’ve always learned how to defend myself. From a young age I adapted the thought that I should trust no one but myself. I even took karate for 5 years and only stopped because it got too expensive.
And people my age spend almost all of their time in school. 7 hours of 5 days a week we spend our time in school. You’d expect school to feel like a second home. A place where you can see your friends without fearing for your life. But that’s not how it was for me. Not anymore. You see, school shootings aren’t really that common but the thought that it could happen in the first place is extremely scary. I never did focus too much on that possibility though.
So why was I so scared of school then? Well, it started in 5th grade when we got our first school shooting threat. And yes when I say first I mean there was more than one. There were two that year and another one the year after. But what made me leave school and switch to online was something that pertained to a specific group of people.
Our school got a school shooting threat where they wanted to kill every black and gay kid in the school. And this was a very scary situation for me considering the fact that I am black. (I wasn’t out at the time and didn’t know that I was gay.) The scariest part is that if at that point I was openly out I would have been a main target for the attack.
And that was my breaking point. This happened in 8th grade. I was so scared. I felt safer whenever I got stuck home alone than I did at school. It got to the point that I cried even thinking about going to school. It completely ruined my mental health.
After that, I was forced to go and see a therapist. Luckily my therapist was not only another POC but she was also someone who spoke realistically and open-mindedly. She wouldn’t lie for the sake of helping my feelings and that’s what I needed. Except therapy didn’t do much to help me. So while she was a great person to talk to it didn’t make my mental health any better.
Add my older brother who steals whatever money I get into the equation and we also have me who cannot save any money. For Christmas, I had gotten $20. Then for my birthday, I got another $20. I was planning to take this to the bank soon. But when I had checked my wallet on my birthday guess what? My money was gone. On my freaking Birthday!
That probably also doesn’t help with my mental help huh?
It’s hard for me to truly feel happy or safe anywhere. When I think about the fact that my mom may switch me back to in-person school I want to cry. For me, that is one of the worse things anyone can do.
If you have a kid or you ever do have a kid and school is affecting their mental health please get help. I know a lot of kids complain about school but it really does affect your mental health. It makes it hard to be happy sometimes. Never underestimate people’s feelings.
Because ignoring that warning sign can lead to dire consequences.