In the back of the classroom, silent, not raising my hand, and only talking to someone unless they are talking to me first. I am in 3rd grade at William Cullen Bryant Elementary School in West Philadelphia. The teacher Ms.Gelfond calls on me, and asks me to answer the question, I give the correct answer. The person next to me asks me a question I just look at them and turn back around. During grades 2nd to 5th, I was very shy and quiet, I didn’t have many friends, and I was very intelligent, had awesome grades and I had two best friends who were not in my class. I wanted to fit in, just not with the people who cheat, get into trouble everyday, who does not follow direction correctly and disobey the rules. Then the day came when something that was fun to do but it was not a very good idea.
Sitting in the back of class reading my book “Judie B Jones: Goes to First Grade” then, 12 o’clock came around and the old fashioned golden bell on top of each door in every classroom rings throughout the whole school. It was time for lunch; I walk down the long narrow hallway, down two flights of stairs, and then into the lunchroom. I sit in between my best friends Niyree and Shaneka. The kids in my class were talking about what they were going to do at recess. Then one child suggested that they play football in the grassy yard behind the school, while the boys were playing, the girls were going to watch them and cheer the players on. This area was perfect for playing around and running, it had about 4 or 5 trees surrounding the perimeter, there were flowers growing in one section of the area. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to go to the back of the school because the lunch aids were not able to watch us behind there. My only two friend Niyree and Shaneka were going to go watch. They tried hard to convince me to go with them, and it worked.
At the back of the school, the boys started playing football while the girls watch on the sidelines. The girls were talking to each other in a group of about 5-7 people spread out in different sections of the area we were in. Suddenly, the principal and the officer came out of the back door where we were. I was terrified and filled with fear of being caught. I started getting nervous, and my brain was not functioning properly. I knew my legs were moving as I ran, trying to escape to the gate, but I couldn’t feel them. The officer quickly went to block the gate so he could try to catch anybody trying to get back into the schoolyard. Everyone had gotten back into the schoolyard except for me, my friend Niyree, and two other girls. We had to go to the principal’s office, she called our parents and told us if we didn’t tell who else was there with us then we would have detention for a week and she would take away our recess for the rest of the school year. None of the other girls said who else was there except for me. I was the only one who told on the others, after all I didn’t know about the “snitches get stitches” saying and that I shouldn’t tell on my classmates if I want to fit in. So, I didn’t lose my recess but when it was time for recess the other kids did not want to play with me. They wouldn’t even talk to me unless they were calling me names such as, snitch, teller teller, and other names. Niyree and Shaneka didn’t want to be my friends anymore either. Once I came home from school that day my parents had yelled me at. My mom had the “disappointed” face on. She was really upset to have to get a bad phone call from my principal about me disobeying the rules, my dad had the same face on, but his was meaner than my mom’s. He was the one who put me on punishment for a month; he told me I am lucky I told who was there with me because then I would have had a longer punishment.
That day, I learned to think twice about my actions and if I chose to do wrong then I must suffer the consequences. This was a time in my life when I realized that I have to make decisions for myself. If I didn’t let Niyree and Shaneka convince me to come with them then I would have never got in trouble with my parents and the principal. I also learned who were my true friends that day, which was nobody at that school because if they were then they would have never convinced me to do the wrong thing.