When we arrived at a small school called CES I looked out the window thinking about what got me here. I did not understand at the time what I did to deserve to be kicked out of my old school, Samuel Staples Elementary School or SSES. I did not go to CES yet, we were being given a tour. When we parked I got out of the car with my mom. When my mom told the secretary why we were here a tour guide came and led us downstairs.
I wondered if this place was a prison as we walked down the stairs. There was rust and everything looked like it was made of steel. The stairway had cement walls with pipes sticking out and going into the floor. When we got down stairs we followed the tour guide down the hallway. When we got to the hallway it started to look more like a school. As we walked by doors she explained what they were for, most of the doors. When we got to a junction that went left or right, I heard screaming and yelling. All of the sudden a clip board flew from the left side to the right side. The person that threw it was a student there. The student ran out of the left side of the junction. Then a huge guy came out of the right side and grabbed the student. I was thinking, holy crap, what is going on here? The tour guide quickly pulled me away like she was protecting me and when the screaming stopped she asked me “Are you ok”.
“I’m fine” I replied. After that experience of actually seeing someone go berserk, I thought, was that how I acted back at my old school? This was going to be a huge change in my life.
It has been two years since I started going to CES and I hated it there. Their punishment system was literally made so you would get in even more trouble. Every day I think about the first time I set foot in this place. Only because every day, one or two people go crazy and get dragged in that place where they lock you in a rubber cell. As the two huge guys carry someone down the hallway the screaming gets louder and louder. Until a shadow passes the classroom door, then the yelling gets softer and softer, until there is a slight silence and everyone continues what they were doing. On the account of my big imagination, I thought all the teachers were robots programed to do the wrong thing, but that was nonsense.
I found out what CES stands for, Cooperative Educational Services.
“When can I go back” I used to ask.
“I don’t know” they would say. I have no idea when or if I will ever get out of here. When my classmates would leave it would bring me hope. Of course I mean go back to normal school, not back home. Sometimes though it gave me despair when I figured out that they went to a mental hospital instead. It felt so unfair here.
One day, I got off the van that takes me here from home. I saw my escorts and I followed them to class. I packed everything in my cubby and sat at my desk. As the academics go on I just think about what to do when I get home. Then I see this kid who was yelling random gibberish. He was one of the special kids and I did not understand them at all.
Then one day a kid named Garret came to our class and made me understand a lot better. Garret was a lot smarter than me, but he did not know how to behave. He was autistic, thanks to him I understand a lot about them now. Still I don’t know what it is like to be him. I am not sure how he thinks or anything. I heard that he became autistic later in life, not at birth. If only I knew him then, then I could have known the difference better.
Everyone in my class taught me something, not just the teachers. It was like we were all different aspects of the same person. Anger, fear, happiness, leader, and trapped intellect.
The days got repetitive, same thing over and over. Lessons and classes. They focused more on the lessons than classes. Lessons were punishments. By the time I was in 4th grade they taught us multiplication.
“You might go back this year, Nico, if you keep this up” The teacher told me. It did not matter to me, that’s what they said last year. There was a point when I was scared of the teachers and wanted to skip school. I would say I won’t go through the whole day and go the next day. Not all the times there were bad, I had friends there, my classmates.
The day came, “Nico, you will be going back next month” the teacher said in excitement/sad tone. She told me she would miss me. I was in fourth grade. That year their message came clear to me. Accept everything, don’t deny it. They taught us to respect others, mostly adults. I wasn’t sure how I felt about leaving. They had a celebration day for me when I left. During the party I was thinking, what is next in my life? After four years of CES, I got to SSES. The work was hard and the brakes were short. At CES I got a bad education. I would rather be at SSES than at CES though. I got used to the work.
The first day I got to SSES I wasn’t very shy, I never got shy when it came to new schools, and I guess it is because I was friends with other students there already.
I got off my bus and walked to my class in the fourth grade hallway, the school year has a couple months left. I walked in and everyone looks at me for a split second, like they were looking for something to do. I unpacked and got to my desk. I became friends with Thomas, Max, and Ian on the first week.
In fifth grade I had a teacher named Mr. Brakeman. He was the best teacher ever, and not because he was nice. Trust me, not because he was nice. It was because he supported me and my writing. Before I met him, I did not know what I was good at. Mr. Brakeman watched Family Guy and he had the guts to admit that he liked it. (I am not sure if he had all of his guts though, he said he had some sort of sickness that ate up his stomach or something)
“Oh no he is back” they would say until they realized that I have changed. Then I became friends with my mortal enemy, Teddy. Then I became friends with his friends. Those were my two friend groups.
We would hang out at lunch, recess, and at home. I also made some enemies like Warren, but I think he is in Texas now. Warren provoked me but I never let my full anger get out, I haven’t since that day. The day I regret. I made some friends and some enemies along the way. I now use my creative mind to write and entertain people. The only thing that matters now is what happening now, and to accept what is happening now even if I don’t like it. It is happening now.