Walking back into school for the first time in years sent a rush of memories through my mind, from the tree I used to climb after school to the conversation that lead to the premature loss of my virginity and so much more. Surprisingly, my emotions lead me to something else altogether…looking at the dull concrete walls, iron laced windows and towering fences I realized; public school truly is a prison. Mind you, your average middle or high school may not have iron bars or shackles but you can “bet your bottom dollar” public schools and prisons are more alike than not.
Both include guards, gangs, crowded cafeterias with bad food, strict schedules determined by vociferous bells, signed documents in order to get in or out and only God knows who will get out alive. The only things somewhat cheery about my former schools are the student murals cracked and damaged by barbaric vandals. Every student gets the same sentence: three consecutive sentences of five years, three years and four years before you can be considered a productive member of society. You might get out early for good behavior, but you are probably more likely to end up with time added on.
Thinking back to my time in the “Big House”; I always felt like a criminal. Between the IDs and hall passes it seemed like no matter where I went there was someone making sure I didn’t do something horrible. Getting sent to the torture chamber called “The Hole” for the most asinine things like having a pack of matches, a metal fork or even wearing a polo that wasn’t just the right shade of green. The Hole truly was psychological torture; a tiny room with no clocks (you’d drop your phone and watch in a box as you walked into the room), the temperature was permanently set to 50° degrees Fahrenheit.
If a single word was spoken (without permission from the teacher) it gave you an automatic extra day in The Hole and you’d be marched into the musty cafeteria far too late in the afternoon to avoid socialization. Another way of getting sent to The Hole was to be caught out of class without your student ID…you could be on your way to your locker to get the ID and you’d be sent to The Hole for the rest of the day. Speaking of IDs, going back to school this past week, I got a taste of “the good old days”.
Trying to get into my old high school was like trying to break into Fort Knox. Having to pull out three different forms of ID, they still rejected my entry. It’s almost funny how even though I’ve graduated, every employee I encountered somehow made me feel like a criminal-just like they did back when I was still a student. My first stop was my high school and I was told in order to enter the school (just to look around) I had to make an appointment a month in advance. After hearing that I desided to hightail it over to my old middle school, this proved just as fruitless.
At the middle school I was finally able to speak to a vice principal who told me I could come back after school hours; my joy was short lived when he told me I could only walk through the echoing breezeway which I had already walked through to get to the administration office. For the last time in my life, I walked out of the school feeling loathsome and reprehensible, until I got into my car. As my engine hummed it hit me; I will never have to go back there…and I will never have to feel like a criminal again.
Considering the fact that I don’t do anything illegal, I know I won’t have to face either form of incarceration again. Also, I will never make my future children suffer through public schooling or what I like to call “Prison Life Training”; instead, they will either be homeschooled or attend private school. I was so flabbergasted by my mistreatment I had to write where my pen lead me. All in all, prison, grade school, it’s all the same to me and regardless of which one a person is in; they both feel asphyxiating and confining.