I was raised to NEVER question authority. EVER. In first grade, I was bullied by an older girl and her two friends, pretty relentlessly. At one point, she decided to up the ante. Next thing I know, I’m getting called into the principal’s office because I’ve been accused of stealing the girl’s pin. I think that she was claiming her friend saw me take it, or some such nonsense. Here’s a hint: I never touched it. I think I actually complimented her on it one day in an effort to diffuse a situation.
In any case, I was accused – or, as I like to call it, bullied – relentlessly. I was absolutely sobbing. The principal even told me that, if I did not just confess that he was going to paddle me. Sadly, I was no stranger to corporal punishment at home so I was even more terrified. I remember thinking that it would be easier to just lie and say I did it to avoid being paddled, but at the same time, my uber-religious grandmother had instilled in me that lying was a horrible sin, etc etc so I guess my fear of hell outweighed my fear of even more physical pain. Had it not been for that, I’m quite certain I would have confessed because, as previously stated, arguing with or contradicting an adult was a HUGE no-no.
I often wonder, had I been better able to stand up for myself, if that little session in the principal’s office would have gone on nearly as long as it did. Had I just known that my parents would protect me, maybe I would have told me to go call my parents right then before berating me any longer… who knows?
As an aside, the irony of this whole situation is that, years later, I would see said principal on the front page of the J&C as being accused of stealing from the school. Go figure.