The principal escorted all of us into his office and ordered us to pick a seat and sit down. On top of that, we had to wait our turn to speak and cannot speak unless spoken to. Or there would be consequences.
I tried to look my best by following everything I was told. If I’m lucky, the truth will come out and justice will prevail.
The principal shut the door behind him and took a seat at his desk. He cleared his throat before speaking.
“It’s come to my attention, Ms. Murphy, that you had fought Ms. Anderson. Is this correct?”
I met his dark brown eyes and said, “yes, Sir.”
He was a bit taken back by my calm demeanor but he continued anyway, “Ms. Murphy, why would you hurt another student?”
I took a deep breath, “I have been picked on by Ms. Anderson, as well as Ms. Stewart for a long time. And I was upset this morning and they wouldn’t stop picking on me. I snapped, Sir.”
I finished speaking and the principal nodded and then turned his attention to Hailey.
“What do you have to say for yourself, Ms. Stewart?”
Instead of answering the question, Hailey burst into tears.
“T-that’s not true, Sir. It’s Ms. Murphy that started the fight! I didn’t do anything! She’s my cousin I love her! I don’t know why she hates me and likes to lie so much. I just want to be her friend.”
The principal nodded and turned his attention to Claire.
“What happened, Ms. Anderson?”
Claire couldn’t face him. She kept looking at her lap. “I walked past Campbell this morning and out of nowhere, she started attacking me. She punched my face, pulled my hair... I was so scared and confused. I don’t know what I ever did to Ms. Murphy...”
The principal listened to all of our stories and ordered us to get up from our chairs and wait in the front office while he decided our punishments.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared of what the outcome would be. I was caught beating Claire like some sort of savage.
After a couple minutes of waiting, the secretary’s phone rang. She quickly answered, then motioned for us to come back to the principal’s office.
We quickly got up from our chairs and did as we were told.
We opened the door and the principal ordered us to sit once again.
“I have thought over all of your stories...”
I didn’t bother to face him. Instead, I stared out the window he had on the wall beside the desk.
Wishing I was anywhere but there with them.
“Ms. Stewart and Ms. Anderson you will be serving three days of outside of school suspension for bullying Ms. Murphy. Ms. Murphy, you are free to go.” The principal spoke softly.
I almost didn’t hear it for a moment until I heard Claire burst into hysterics.
“She hurt me!” Claire screamed as loud as she could.
“Self defense. I’ve been getting reports of your relentless bullying for a long time. Now be grateful it’s only a three-day suspension. Most children in your situation would be suspended or expelled! And I’ve already called your parents. Believe me, they are not pleased.” The principal shouted before looking back at me.
“Ms. Murphy, you are dismissed. Please return to class.”
I nodded my head and quickly exited the office. Only to be spotted by angry parents. My aunt was the first to confront me. She grabbed me by my wrist and pulled me outside of the office.
“Campbell, whatever this is… are you sure it’s not just some misunderstanding? Hailey tells me all the time how much she loves you. Don’t you think getting her in trouble is a little much?” My aunt spoke sternly. I knew she was trying to get me to admit I lied about everything but I didn’t lie.
“Auntie, I didn’t lie… Hailey picks on me every day.” I spoke cautiously while hoping something would end this awkward confrontation.
“But why would Hailey lie to me?” My aunt asked me while crossing her arms.
“Why would I lie to you?” I wanted to say… Instead, I shrugged my shoulders.
“Just tell the principal you made it up. You don’t want your favorite cousin in trouble right?”
I flinched at her words. I couldn’t believe what she was telling me. I didn’t want anyone to be mad at me but I knew what Hailey and Claire did was wrong. Without my dad to protect me I was conflicted.
“Auntie, Hailey was mean to me though…” I looked down at my feet. I wouldn’t dare look at her.
“And why would you get Claire involved? She is such a sweet little girl.”
When I knew she wasn’t going to stop pressuring me I remained silent.
My aunt continued blabbering about how great Hailey and Claire were for a couple more minutes. Eventually, she caught on to me being quiet on purpose.
“Just wait until I call your father and let him know you lied. He is going to be so disappointed in you.”
Upon hearing those vicious words I froze. I didn’t know if I wanted to cry, scream, run away…. Or all of the above. Then I saw her pull out her cellphone and purely out of reflex I tried to rip it from her hands.
Obviously, she was much stronger than me and was able to hold onto her phone.
Afterward, she stood up and walked back into the office to retrieve her daughter.
I stood there for a couple of moments, I wanted to freak out for what my aunt had done but I just stood with a blank expression. While internally I was on the verge of a meltdown.