A Chicago Public Schools student learns meaning of friendship

There I am, sitting in the principal’s office. The place I never thought I’d see myself in. As I sit there, I think to myself that it is just a dream and that my alarm should be ringing any second now, but no, this is really happening. I have to face the fact that I am going to be suspended for what I have done. As I sit there, I feel tears rolling down my face. I think back to the time of the incident: how bad I felt after hitting him and my friend laughing in the back.

It was about the last week of 7th grade and it was our classes’ turn to use the bathroom.  At our school, students used the bathroom four students at a time.  My best friend, Fabian, who I knew since 2nd grade, two other students, and me were in the bathroom. One student left and now it was just me, Fabian, and Paul, who we didn’t really talk to. Fabian whispers to me, “Hey Bryan, go punch Paul in the arm.” I say to him, “Why?” “Because it will be funny. Now do it,” Fabian demanded.

I didn’t want our friendship to end so even though I knew that hitting Paul was wrong, I did it anyway. Without thinking twice, I clenched my fist and punched him. I tried to not hit him hard but make it look like I did. However, Paul made a sound as if in agonizing pain. I felt bad for hitting him and in the back I hear Fabian laughing hysterically like a hyena. I stood there frozen thinking to myself, “What have I done?” Fabian walks over to me pats me on the back and says, “Man, I didn’t think you’d do it.” We left the bathroom and headed downstairs for recess.

Feeling guilty, I didn’t do much during recess.  Then the teacher walked over to me. She asked about the bathroom incident. I fully confessed about doing it and she took me to the counselor’s office. Once there, the counselor asked what happened in the bathroom. I started to sob while telling her what I did and that Fabian had a part in it too. The counselor told me to keep quiet while she called for Fabian over the intercom. When Fabian arrived, he had a worried look on his face. The counselor asked him to tell his side of the story. He looks at me then at the counselor.  Then he admits to telling me to hit Paul. The counselor tells us that the punishment will be a suspension. When we heard this, tears stared to run down our faces. After a while we calmed down and the counselor walked us down to the principal’s office. I kept my head down as we walked to the principal’s office and I thought to myself, “What will my mom say?”

At the principal’s office the principal tells us that the punishment will be a one day. It would have been a ten day suspension.  She said, “For being honest, I have reduced the suspension to one day. It would have been a ten day suspension so consider yourselves lucky.” The principal asked us if we had anything else to say and Fabian and I both shook our heads no. I was mad at Fabian and wanted him to server the full ten day suspension.

While sitting in the principal’s office I realized that Fabian was no longer a friend. From then on, our friendship started to fade. We stared to talk less and less until we completely stopped talking to each other. After that experience, I realized a couple things. I realized that a true friend wouldn’t challenge the friendship over a stupid thing. Also, that if a friend tells me to do something I don’t want to do and he says, “Do it or were not friends,” then he is not a true friend.  Looking back, I’m not really sure if Fabian would have ended the friendship if I hadn’t hit Paul.

By Bryan Gumban, Hanock Junior

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