Gyms, principals, and lunches (I)

Earlier this week, I was thinking about principals for some reason, which then got me thinking about introverted lunches. Thus, I will have a two-part post. The next part will likely be posted on Wednesday of next week (not Monday, because there’s a post that I have premeditated for Monday).

The gym has been a surprising source of visits to the principal’s office for me throughout my school years. Two specific stories from elementary school stick out significantly–from first grade and from sixth grade. (Of course, sixth grade would now be middle school for most kids.)

In first grade, I was quite anti- or non-social, because this was prior to me being diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. There was one day in school where we had a substitute teacher for our gym class. Although I don’t remember much about that day, I do recall that I was sent to the principal’s office for doing jumping jacks improperly.

I don’t, in retrospect, know why I would be punished for that. My most likely hypothesis is that I was subjecting the teacher to insubordination in some other way, and the improper jumping jacks were the straw that broke the camel’s back.

Let’s fast-forward to my sixth grade year. This was my hardest year to date, both academically and socially. The year was 1999, and the month was May when this incident happened.

I had told my brother (who was in second grade and a Boy Scout at the time) that we were doing some sort of a project that involved cutting pop bottles in my social studies class that day. He suggested that I take his pocket-knife, so that I would have something more effective than the scissors provided in the school.


This episode happened only about a month after the Columbine shootings. I had the knife in my pocket, but it fell out during gym class and was promptly claimed by the teacher, who did NOT (!) send me directly to the principal’s office.

I think that all of the teachers at that school knew that “I wouldn’t harm a fly”, so they were not concerned that I was about to attack someone.

In fact, if I had used the knife in class to cut the bottles, I probably would have been a bigger danger to myself than anyone else. Thinking about it now, how would I have avoided accidentally injuring myself with a pocket knife? Earlier in that year, we used linoleum cutters (!!) in art class. My project came to a premature end because I accidentally cut myself.

(Interestingly, that may have been an early time showcasing my strong will against external injuries–I was not screaming bloody murder or crying my eyes out. I calmly went to the nurse’s office and got bandaged up.)

In the aftermath of the knife incident, I was thankfully not suspended or expelled, or even put on probation.

That’s a problem with today’s society–any tool can be seen as a weapon, and there is just a general feeling of distrust in the air.

Thankfully for the readers, this story will get much better in Part II, on Wednesday. Wait for it…!


Thanksgiving Day: 6 days.

Finals Week: 27 days.

Joint Mathematics Meetings: 47 days.

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