I was 14 years old and doing well at secondary school, I had a good group of friends, getting along nicely with my school work, never really caused any trouble and was enjoying my time, until one day when it all changed and actually if im honest changed my life pretty much.
As always at school there was the typical stereotype groups, the popular crowd, the geeky crowd, the misfits that didn’t really belong in any of the groups and I kind of flitted between all those groups at some point in my first 3 years, I got on with pretty much everybody. Until a time when I was in a group of girls and that is when everything changed. Within school everything was fine, however there was a girl that they were all friends with outside of school as she went to a different secondary school. This girl took an instant disliking to me for some reason so when we were all hanging out together after school and during the weekends there was some tension, but I just stayed out her way as such. Little did I know she had a plan for me and everybody was in on it.
The night before a text message had been sent round saying a fight was being organsied on the school field for the next day at lunchtime, now I am sure most people remember there being fights at school, mostly between the boys and it would involve a small amount of punches that never connected, rolling around on the floor and about 10-15 other lads egging them on and the girls squealing. It would all be over in a matter minutes because the teachers/dinner ladies (or dinner dogs as they were called at my school) would come and break it up. However this was going to be a complete different fight to anything that I had ever witnessed.
Fast forward to lunch time and everybody descended onto the field as normal and within minutes the atmosphere changed, it seemed like the number of pupils had increased ten fold, but I just carried on doing what I was doing, I wasn’t necessarily on the field because of the message that had been sent the night before, I was just there with my friends, but I was quickly surrounded by everybody and the next thing I am being hit in the back of the head, my ponytail being pulled and on the ground, I was repeatedly kicked and punched in the back, stomach and head. I remember there being loads of shouting but I couldn’t tell you if it was people shouting for her to stop, keep going or if it was actually me shouting. I curled myself into a ball just hoping it would stop soon enough. It felt like it went on for ages but I think it was only probably something like 5 minutes. A dinner lady was the next thing I remember shouting for everybody to move and picking me up off the floor and as I looked around there must of been at least 100 people just stood there, all whispering, pointing and laughing. Among those students were my group of so called friends who had stood there watching me getting kicked and punched and not stopped it or even warned me that she was coming for me. As I was led across the field more teachers started to appear and I realised that during the ordeal I had actual wet myself which I think had happened from being so bloody scared of what was happening. I was taken straight to the head teachers office and my parents were called. Through endless amounts of tears from the pain and embarrassment I was asked what had happened, where did I hurt, did I know who had done it. At this point my Dad arrived and spoke to the teachers who advised on taking me home, getting me seen at A&E and also the possibility of involving the police.
We went straight to the hospital where I was checked over and luckily all I had was bruising and few scratches and some tenderness from the blows I had taken, but because I had curled up in a ball she hadn’t actually managed to land any kicks or punches on face. Next stop was the police station where I had to make an official statement of exactly what happened. I had to give the names of all who were involved and addresses. We went home and I just cried to my parents, I couldn’t actually believe what had just happened and I was petrified of it happening again. I refused to go back to school, go out the house unless my Dad was with me, wouldn’t speak to anybody, wouldn’t answer my phone to anybody from school I was just a mess. We were contacted by the police after they had done some investigating and it turned out that everything had been planned, the girls from my school had got the girl who beat me up onto the school during lunch, they had given her a spare jumper so she had our school uniform on, the text message I had received was different to the one other people had got, in terms of my name was mentioned as the person who was going to get a kicking. The police gave her a caution if I remember correctly and the girls who had helped to organised were paid a visit given a slap on the wrist. For them it was all over and done with but for me, it was still horrendous. By this time it had been nearly 3 weeks since I had attended school, although school were great about it all and could understand my apprehension at returning. They had been sending work for me to do at home so I didn’t fall behind too much and had been ringing to get updates on how I was doing. My Dad made the decision that I needed to get my confidence back and so had found a local Martial Arts club for me to start attending and that it was time for me to go back to school. We had a meeting with the school to discuss me going back and how we would handle it. I was so anxious and nervous about that first day back, I made my parents drop me off, rather than me walking or getting the bus as I truly believed that she would be waiting for me again. I got out of the car in the school grounds and it felt the whole school had doubled in size, I felt like this tiny little dot and thought everybody was staring at me.
From that one moment on the school field, my whole personality had changed, my trust in people was broken, I had lost my confidence and didn’t believe in the school system of keeping pupils safe. I was never the same after that and it has stayed with me into my adult years. It may be 16 years ago but it really did have a profound affect on me.