Friday 18 January 2019

The letter I wish I'd sent: 'To my thug teacher, you brought decades of misery and terror'

Stock photo
Stock photo

Dear Despised Teacher Bully,

I am writing now because you died recently and the memories came flooding back. It was 1978, I was 13 years old and enrolled in the secondary school in a rural town in the mid-west.

The harrowing story started at the New Year 1979. Christmas was enjoyable for us young ones, six of us in all, we had a good time. Before Christmas my mother took me with her to visit her cousin and best friend. It was her 60th birthday and she was also my godmother. My mother brought her an oven-ready Christmas goose as she did every year. We had a very nice visit with her and upon leaving she discreetly put a £10 note in my pocket. It was a lot of money at the time. I didn't say anything to my mother as I felt it was mine and my godmother knew my birthday was the following week.

Back to school on the second week in January, all the Christmas fun was over. At lunchtime we headed down to Maisie's sweet shop next door so full of delight with my £10.

I never in my lifetime had a sum of money like this -certainly all my Christmases had come true. I produced the £10 to Maisie and she looked quite startled. She would not serve me my favourite sweets. My heart just sank with disappointment. Away I go to back to school empty-handed.

In the meantime, Maisie had rung the school and reported that I had £10. As I entered the school, there you were, 'Mr Thug', beckoning me to follow you to a room. This room was known to the students as the slaughter room.

You interrogated me on where I had obtained the money. I told you the truth. You shouted at me, calling me a "liar", and with that, you punched several blows into my face and body with such force that I fell to the floor and you proceeded to kick me in the stomach, ribs and back for almost another 15 minutes until I was weak but I wouldn't cry. If I cried, you would stop. I just wouldn't give you the pleasure of seeing me cry, that being the reason I held back the tears.

I told no one. Back at home, my mother questioned me why I was walking with a limp. I just replied, "Mammy, we do have rough games of hurling."

Fast forward to the parent/teacher meeting in early summer. My mother went in to face 'Mr Thug', not knowing anything about the incident. You commenced the meeting by making the remark that "your son is a tough young lad, I gave him a good hiding at Christmas because he told me a lie. He had £10 and he told me that his godmother gave it to him for his birthday and you gave her a goose for Christmas."

My mother confirmed my story as true. She was both shocked and hurt that such brutal treatment was meted out to her son. That evening I told her about the whole sequence of events. To this day, my mother holds the gruesome memory of this assault. A brutal assault by a person who was entrusted with responsibility and care for children and moreover was expected to be an educator.

It is truly shocking that so-called educators like you, 'Mr Thug' Teacher, walk free and that defenceless children endured such suffering unjustly.

You would come in on Monday mornings with a miserable hangover from your alcoholism and just wanted to take out your frustration on some poor child that, in your opinion, had transgressed.

Shame on you, I say, and shame on your colleagues and your principal who stood idly by while you continued to inflict brutal beatings until you retired. You certainly did a gross disservice to this school and its students.

My sympathies to the many other students like me who suffered similar torture. You brought decades of misery and terror. You don't deserve to rest in peace.

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