August 09, 2003
A thirty-five year old midget goes from school hell to school heaven

And, as if to make my point for me, again, about how some schools are, for some children, an absolute joy, here's another Samizdata commenter, "Monsyne Dragon":

From my experiences as a kid, I know EXACTLY how this poor kid felt. I also was very mature for my age, from day one. My parents called me the "35-year old midget" . (U.S.) Public school was hell. Utter hell. I ALSO had the good fortune of going to a private school for two years. It was a school specifically for very talented and/or very high IQ kids. About 80% of the students there were "over-mature" There were NO troubles with socialization there. The kids weren't isolated, and there was none of the unending harassment of the public schools. The kids there weren't trying to be over-adult in compensation for anything, they were just being themselves, and when put together with others of the same level of maturity, they were FINE. Kids who had been doing HORRIBLY grade-wise (including me) got top grades. Some of the kids there had been getting violent out of frustration at public school previously. There was none of that at the private school.

The public schools' political agenda simply won't let them recognize several basic facts:

1) People mature at different rates, mentally, emotionally, and physically.

2) For kids, being in a large group consisting of exclusively the same physical age as themselves is UNNATURAL, and not very good for their development (my private school divided kids into groups by broad age-ranges. kids 4-5 years apart were in the same group)

"Modern" public schools foster a "Lord of the Flies" atmosphere that does harm to many and may lead some to violence, either against themselves, as in this case, or against others.

Every now and again, when you ramble on about education, you say something or talk about something which yanks the argument away from the arid vacuities of national statistics to the inescapable truths of individual experience. This Guardian piece, and my various links and reactions to it, have had this effect, although mostly at Samizdata rather than here.

I really recommend these Samizdata comments. Monsyne Dragon isn't the only one showing a few of his educational wounds to illustrate more general things. There are others, all with important points to make that are worth attending to, including the point that I probably (at Samizdata) went way over the top in blaming the wretched mother as much as I did. It's hard not to blame somebody in situations like this. But, as "Eric Blair" says (I'm guessing that inverted commas are once again in order):

I'm not sure I'd blame the mother too much. I know what it was like to be bullied, and the 'rents were the last ones I would have told.

I do blame the teachers. They knew I was being bullied, and did nothing about it. Worse, they tried to tell me I was the problem. Stupid shits. I can't believe how angry this is making me thinking about it after 30 years.

God, what an ugly thing it is.

Amelia asked this:

Where was the Dad during all this?

Indeed. It all rather reminds me of this movie, in which Hugh Grant filled in for Dad.

I'm guessing Monsyne Dragon had a Dad paying attention to his circumstances, if only to pay for the nice school. Yes, it would seem so. He says "my parents".

Posted by Brian Micklethwait at 02:48 PM
Category: Bullying