Not His Day
“Excuse me? Could you remove your hat, please?” he heard her say. A sharp pain shot through his neck as he tried to look up at her.
The teacher demanded that he take his hat off. He tried to turn to face her but felt a searing pain in his neck. Today was not his day. But it would get even worse as time went on.
A Good Life
Terry has always had a happy life. He had excellent grades, a close-knit group of reliable friends, and just the right amount of popularity to get the attention of the school’s elite. He had everything a high school senior could desire.
For a seventeen-year-old like Terry, this was the height of his adolescent and high school years. He was unaware that things were going to get unpleasant.
The Ideal Photograph
When Terry’s family gave him his first car for his seventeenth birthday, his life would never be the same. He had always desired to acquire a pair of wheels, and now that his wish had come true, he was overjoyed.
However, what was meant to offer him the happiness he had imagined since starting high school would appear to endanger his life.
The Motivation Behind It All
The start of that terrible day for Terry was similar to many others. After waking up, showering, and eating breakfast with his family, he quickly left for school.
Normally, it took only fifteen minutes to go to school, but today there was heavy traffic in the area. Terry made every effort to weave around the several automobiles. When it occurred, he had already traveled roughly half of his journey.
Waiting For It To Go Green
When the light turned green, Terry proceeded. He had been traveling for about an hour at this point. He didn’t want to miss school once again.
Terry stepped on the gas as the light flashed green. His vehicle sped up, but the next thing he remembered, he was in tremendous pain and he didn’t know why. His day had just gotten very bad.
A Paralyzing Pain
Terry was unable to describe what had taken place. He was impatiently holding the wheel one moment, and his automobile swerved to the side the next.
He sat with his seatbelt firmly across his chest when a severe ache suddenly erupted. He could see through the crimson liquid and black blotches blocking his vision, but his automobile was reduced to twisted bits of metal. The worst of it, though, wasn’t that.
The second car had overturned and was now on the side of the road. Had the car’s driver suffered a worse end than Terry?
Terry fought with his seatbelt until he managed to remove it. He had to push himself forward past deflated airbags to get to his door handle. He heard the metal grating. He went to see if he could help the person in the vehicle.
Dark And Bright
As the shadows surrounding Terry’s vision became darker, his field of vision became obscured. He was also losing his vigor. He did his best to drag himself over the chilly tarmac, but he eventually collapsed to the ground.
Terry suddenly woke up in a brightly lit room as the frantic sounds surrounding him stopped. An icy hand wrenched open his eyelids and shined a bright torch at them as a soothing voice murmured, “You’re OK. What was going on?
After the doctor departed, Terry’s parents said, “You were in an accident. But you’re doing OK, his mother said. She held a wet handkerchief in her palm and rubbed her swollen eyes. We were quite concerned.
The days that followed blurred together as he recovered. He soon felt strong enough to go back to school but only because he could cover his stitches with a baseball cap.
Getting Back To School
Terry insisted on going back to school two weeks after his injury, and his parents agreed. He entered the classroom wearing a hat and holding a walking stick.
Everyone was fixated on him. He was the young man who, although suffering injuries, overcame his suffering to check to see whether anybody else was hurt in the collision. The instructor then entered the classroom.
The teacher’s eyes burned with malice as she commanded Terry to take off his hat. “I was in a car accident,” he said. “Take the hat off. You cannot wear that in my class,” she insisted.
Terry couldn’t say whether the teacher felt he was being rude or if she was uncaring about his condition. What he did next made the teacher rush to him.
Terry slipped the hat from his head. The entire class gasped. He looked around, his eyes landing on the teacher.
She took a step back, then moved to speak before stopping herself. Terry could see her eyes glint all over his scar. He felt uncomfortable standing before the class like this. Did he make a mistake coming to school while still healing?
The Tables Turn
“You can put your hat back on,” said the teacher. “But I can’t wear hats in class,” Terry replied. “I mean, I can do it, but not if I’m breaking the rules.”
He’d thought about storming out of class but then saw it fit to lighten the mood. The class giggled as he continued to speak, which made his confidence spring back up.
Terry had read about a concept known as malicious compliance, obeying the rules even if they harmed people around him. The scar on his head was still healing, and Terry suspected it was still gory in the other students’ eyes.
Would he obey his teacher’s rule of not having a hat in class and make his fellow students uncomfortable, or would he break the rule for their benefit?
“Please put your hat on,” the teacher said. “Okay. If you insist,” Terry said, sliding the hat back with a grin. The teacher apologized for making him take off his hat.
Terry remembered his family describing his wound as a battle scar to mark what he’d endured on the road alone. He’d proudly carry that scar throughout his life.
But Terry’s story isn’t the only one of its kind. Aapo was only seven when his family made the move from Central America to a small town in Indiana.
An energetic soul through and through, he loved everything that came with the move. The American culture took him by storm, but Aapo did everything to acclimate. He had no clue what the future held for him.
Aapo’s parents had always been traditional folk. They loved their Mayan heritage, doing their best to impart everything they knew to their lovely kids.
As such, Aapo and his sister Izel grew up knowing their roots. They enjoyed everything their parents taught them. But such a harmless thing would threaten to ruin Aapo’s education career.
Going To School
Aapo and Izel’s parents enrolled them in the local middle school as soon as they settled in their town. The kids were beside themselves with joy when it happened.
They had spent most of their lives watching and reading about the American educational system and couldn’t wait to be a part of it. They had no clue what they had signed up for.
The School Semester
Aapo and his sister began school as the new semester came, and for the most part, everything was as great as they expected. The classes were fun, and the other students warm and welcoming.
But it wouldn’t be long until everything came crashing down on Aapo. But unlike Terry, he wouldn’t have a way to defend himself.
Going To Science Class
Aapo’s issue began when a new substitute teacher took over his science class. He had been having the time of his life for the past seven months that he’d been at the school.
He had great friends he enjoyed hanging out with and excellent grades to ensure he’d continue to high school. But one look at that substitute teacher, and he knew something was about to go terribly wrong.
The teacher was a thirty-seven-year-old master’s holder from one of the universities in town. She had spent five years teaching biology after college before returning to pursue higher education.
Now that she was furthering her education, she needed a substitute teacher job to help her with day-to-day bills. Her choices would land her in deep trouble.
The day the incident took place started like any other for Aapo. After a filling breakfast with his family, he and Izel took the bus to school.
Everything was going great for Aapo until he entered biology class. The substitute teacher locked eyes with him before running her gaze up and down. Trouble was here.
For the longest while, Aapo had gone without shaving his head, as is demanded in his culture. He enjoyed the look and loved that he was honoring his heritage as his ancestors would have wanted.
But as he looked at the teacher, her gaze stuck on his silky mane, he knew nothing good would come from this day.
“Isn’t that hair too long, young man?” the substitute teacher called, her lips curling into a disgusting smile. “Come here,” she commanded, and Aapo stood and hurried to her.
She looked at his hair, seemingly surprised that it rode down his back. “Do you know the school policy about hair length?” she asked and fished a pair of scissors from her handbag.
He Explains Everything
“I have,” Aapo answered in a shaky voice. He stated that his parents had talked to the principal and teaching body, explaining that Aapo and Izel’s hairs were long because of their culture.
He knew the teacher would understand, the others did, and they even commended him for openly celebrating who he was. He was wrong.
She Cuts His Hair
The teacher fisted Aapo’s hair, her smile turning into a leer as she studied it. “Such a shame,” she said and, without warning, let her scissors talk.
Aapo stood in shock as the locks of his hair dropped to the floor. He’d never seen his hair cut like this since his birth, and he couldn’t believe what was happening.
He’s In Tears
The teacher cut Aapo’s hair in the worst way possible. She left him in tears as he ran out of class, grinning at the chaos she’d created.
Aapo ran straight to the principal’s office, unsure what to do. He didn’t even talk. One look from the principal, and he knew he was in the right hands.
He Calls Her Mom
The principal called Aapo’s mom, who wasted no time coming to school. She was upset when she found her little boy in tears, with his head shaven.
She had to rein in her fury as the principal asked her to take a seat. How could she sit down when his school had done such a terrible deed to her baby?
Aapo’s mom asked all the right questions, and it wasn’t long before the substitute teacher found herself in the principal’s office. She thought she would leave with a warning, but the principal had other plans.
He informed the teacher about Aapo’s hair and how sacred it was to him and his heritage. He hoped the teacher would be remorseful to ease the room’s tension. She wasn’t.
The teacher didn’t show any remorse for her actions. She insisted that Aapo’s hair was going against school rules but kept quiet when the principal told her Aapo had a pass because of his culture.
The teacher lost her position, with her license to teach being revoked. According to the principal, schools are meant to nurture every kid despite their cultural background. He assured Aapo’s mom that what happened to her son would never happen again.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.