Testimony 151

I remember starting at KEGS and it was rocky from the beginning. At week 2, I was pulled up to the front of the class and told off for having “an attitude”. I was shouted at by my male tutor who told me “don’t roll your eyes at me!”, of which I was completely oblivious. I had no idea what I was being told off for. This teacher seemed to have ceased an opportunity to assert his dominance over a female in front of the class. He was performing, and it was utterly bizarre. I was close to tears and felt totally humiliated. If I couldn’t earn this teachers respect, and be told off for no apparent reason, then how could I earn the respect of my peers at this new school. I felt broken and like I had made a mistake starting at a school that I was not good enough for.

The bullying continued in very obvious and public ways. When my train would be late, I would arrive at registration completely anxious and nervous, with 2 other boys who were also late with me. The teacher would let the boys sit down and stop me in front of the whole class. I would apologise for being late, and his exact words were..and I still remember them “I almost enjoy you being late so I can watch the sickly greasy smile of yours” The class was stunned in silence. One of the boys consoled me later and said “I think he was in a bad mood”. If anything the boys felt sorry for me and occasionally did comfort me, because even they could see how abusive and uncalled for this behaviour was.

Recurrent experiences of being humiliated continued. One year we were ordered to clean the common room, and this teacher, told me to get down on my knees and clean something up with my hands. He watched as I reluctantly did as he told me to, while he stood over me and smirked. I tried to laugh off the humiliation. The other boys were left to their own devices to clean as they saw fit. I was however singled out multiple times around the common room by him and ordered to complete very specific degrading actions.

During form time, when there were letters to hand out, he would ask me to hand them out to everyone, as if I were his class slave. I cannot begin to explain how repulsive and hostile his behaviour was. He made me feel humiliated and worthless on a daily basis. I wish I had the courage to stand up for myself but I was always afraid that I would be the one in trouble for raising these issues.

This male teacher was known to make other girls in his [subjects redacted] class cry and one time in the locker rooms another girl heard me talking about my experiences. She approached me and said “whatever you do, don’t cry in front of him”.

Sadly, he wasn’t the only one. A so called feminist [subject redacted] teacher also bullied me, claiming that the boy I used to sit next to in [subject redacted] class “would make a good couple” with me. She would take more opportunities to publicly humiliate me, such as the time she stood me up in front of another class of students when I came to hand in some work. She proceeded to tell them that I didn’t get the grades I wanted because I didn’t listen to her. She told everyone my grade and said I didn’t get the A I wanted. She took pleasure in making an example of me in front of my juniors. I have to admit, her actions were far more subtle but they were personal and vindictive. Myself and my female friends in her [subject redacted] class reflected on her behaviour often, and noticed that we were given low scores, despite her reassuring us that we were on target to get As when we requested feedback. When I suggested that I may politely appeal to the board for a remark she raised her voice and said “No you can’t, because everyone else’s grades may be remarked!”. If she had nothing to hide then why the reaction? Dropping from a perfect A at AS level to a C did look suspicious I suppose, and maybe she was worried about the lash back.

The students practiced unkind behaviours but that I can forgive. The injustices perpetuated by known adults however I can never forgive and I won’t defend, and I won’t censor. They deeply affected my confidence, my self belief and my grades. For me, as a grown woman with a lot of confidence now, this issue continues to be unresolved, with no acceptance of liability, and no justice. I want justice for the other girls they intimidated and broke after me, for the ones who never recovered.

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