Everyone knew about Shum Deil of H Junior High as well as P district’s II. Junior High School. He was the kid who got kicked out of District II. and made to transfer to H in the middle of his last year of junior high. The cause of transfer only stated: violation of school rules.
With kids at
that age, there was no satisfaction in hearing something mundane as the
formerly stated reason. So, of course, wild guesses started circulating in half
a day. They ranged from theft, gambling and indecent acts on school grounds to
damaging school property and bullying. Their variation went on a pretty big
scale, sometimes sprinkled with rather creative ideas like,
“Did you hear that Shum Deil got kicked out of District II. for joining a street gang?”
The boy who heard this sneered. “That’s bullshit. Have you ever seen street gangs around here?”
The kids around them snickered. It was recess time and everyone clustered in groups for discussion.
The girl who started the guessing got a rosy tint in her cheeks right away. She was flustered by getting called out like that. Flinging her long hair over her shoulder, she turned sideways in her seat. “Th-then what do you think it was?” She humphed, jutting her chin out.
The boy got a
glint in his pale brown eyes. He was lounging on the top of her desk, one of
his legs flinging back and forth as he looked down at the obviously flustered
“He beat up a teacher.” The boy made a fist with his hand and aimed it at the girl’s chin with a light punch.
The others laughed, but the girl’s eyes widened.
At that moment, a male classmate passed by their desk. The boy jumped down from the table hooking his arm around the oncoming classmate’s neck. “What do you think, Sae?”
Sae pried the arm from his neck and looked at the little group anticipating his answer. “Nothing. It’s pretty obvious that it’s nothing but a rumour. Otherwise, it’d be school violence, no?” His voice sounded decidedly uncaring. Sae adjusted his glasses and waited.
When he said it like that, what could the others say? They did not answer and after a while Sae walked away, no longer interested.
This was H Junior High, the day after the incident. Being the only other school in their district, even if kids knew each other from the two schools, they could not match every detail just yet.
The lines of communication only stretched far enough that they heard about the dismissal. Putting two and two together, it was easy to calculate where the transfer’s destination would be. The two schools exchanged messages overnight but even District II.’s students did not know exactly what went down behind the closed doors of the teachers’ office.
So to say, it was quite boisterous on both the sender’s and the to-be receiver’s end.
On Monday the
26th, Shum Deil, the name that crawled onto everyone’s lips and then fluttered
away just as fast – jumping from mouth to mouth – stepped over the gates of H
Junior High to all of its students’ highest anticipation.
In a little over one week’s time, the degree went from a wild goose chase like joining a gang, to concrete facts of assault that was actually committed outside of school grounds. But that was hardly the point.
“What I’ve heard is that he got into a fight with a bunch of kids near High Street,” announced a girl one morning in front of the entire class, her speech so fast that she slurred some of the words. She had to stop and swallow. “Even the police got involved.”
And so, the buzzing of whispers in the senior year’s humanity class of H Junior High, the first junior high in P. district, did not cease even after the teacher walked in. Of course, this piece of information was way more interesting than basic geometry. The poor man in his fifties had to smack a book on the podium to make everyone shut up and pay attention.
this was not Shum Deil’s first offence. In truth, no matter how good of a
student the boy was on paper, in reality, he was a real headache to deal with.
After more than one teacher got their hands full of the absurdity of his
affairs, and when at last, even the police got involved; his previous head
teacher gave up as well.
It seemed, quite frankly, an impossible challenge.
“Senior Year, Science Class II., that's class D. That will be you ‘til the end of the year, and I will be your head teacher,” the man’s tone was solemn as he tapped his fingers on the tabletop.
Deil stood before his new head teacher’s desk in the teachers’ office with freshly printed documents shoved into his hands. His eyes boldly gazed around, and the bruising on his face made him look more hostile than he actually was.
“You know my
name, right?” the teacher asked, looking over the rim of his glasses.
A few seconds passed without a sound from either of them. A phone ringing in the background made up for it, but that did not mean a lot.
Finally, right when the man was about to open his mouth, utterly irritated, Deil said, “Yes.”
“Good.” The teacher gave him a look. “You can call me Sir or Teacher Beyan. My phone number is on the top of the class roster.”
Deil looked down at one of the papers in his hand. The phone number really was there, neatly printed out. It made him furrow his brows; he never knew any of his past head teachers’ phone numbers.
“I’ll add you to
the class group chat today and...” Teacher Beyan leaned back and looked over
the youngster standing before him. “What to do about the uniform? Hmm, you’ll
need to take care of that.” His fingers tapped away on the desk’s glass covered
surface, his eyes wary and a bit judgemental.
Deil dotted his old school uniform with wrinkled lines on his white shirt, the hem half tucked in.
“After classes today, I want to speak with you in the consultation room. Meet me there at 3 on the second floor.” This time, the teacher did not wait for an answer. “If I’m not there for some reason, you come back here to look for me. I’ll take you to class now.” He stood up, grabbed his class book and ushered Shum Deil to the classroom of science class II.
One teacher and
one student passed by in the hallway. From classrooms lining their path, kids
brimming with curiosity stuck out their heads. In the humanities class, a big
group caused a ruckus, pulling and pushing each other to the windows. There was
a variety of commentary, some whispered, some loud and clear to the ears:
“I think he’s more handsome than in the photos. Someone said he continually gets first place in his year all the way back to elementary school.”
“And you believe that! Would he still be a delinquent if he’s so smart?”
"Eyy, looks scary."
“Yo, have you seen the bruises? Badass!”
“He’s not tall at all. I doubt he beat up five older kids.”
The commotion stirred even Sae’s attention, making him look up as the teacher and Shum Deil passed by the door of their classroom. Sae caught a glance of Shum Deil’s jet black hair and the worn bag strapped over his slouching body. At first glance, he did not look like an evil-doer; neither did he look anything reputable.
Just then, class C’s head teacher arrived and the kids gathered in the hallway dispersed. The students of the class returned to their seats, still quietly chatting.
Their head teacher was rather young, very ambitious, but seemed to be perpetually on the verge of passing out from lack of sleep. After the class greeted him, everyone sat down.
“Teacher, which class will Shum Deil go to?” someone asked.
The teacher answered without much interest. “Class D.”
“Why Class D?”
“Because he’s a science class student.”
“Who cares about that?” someone rebuked, “Teacher, is it true that he was held in custody?”
Soon, others called out their questions as well, and the din intensified. The head teacher held a hand to his forehead, then pinched the bridge of his nose. He knocked on the podium a few times. “Quiet down. Ask him yourselves if you’re that curious. I’m not going to talk about this now, taking up class time.”
The students let out disappointed grunts.
After they settled down a bit, the head teacher clapped his hands. “Now! As you all know, it’s time to have our consultation about your further education choices. I’ll consult five people every day, starting today. Everyone, come to me after classes in order of your class number. Number one: Hoh Saering.”
Another wave of grunts.
“Settle down. Today we’ll resume where we left off last time. Open your books on the latest chapter, the lesson’s topic...”