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The First Day of Public School
Nathan, Age 13, Logan, OH

The inside of the bus was hot and dusty and had that bitter smell of sweat. I had been home schooled up until grade six by my mother. During the summer after sixth grade, my father lost his job. He found a new job, but it paid less money. To make ends meet, my mother had to get a job. That is when I started in public school.

The bus picked me up at my bus stop at 6:47 on Tuesday. The bus smelled of sweat because some of the guys were wrestling before they got on the bus. When we arrived at school, I was very confused. I had never had a locker before. It took me a while to figure it out. I was almost late for my first period, Mrs. Westman's U.S. History class. She looked to be about 300 years old and very mean. She was taking attendance and she looked at this kid and said, "Is James your father?"

The kid said yes. Mrs. Westman said, "If the apple doesn't fall too far from the tree then, you're not going to have a good time in this class." This kid named Josh would make me have a long year!

It turned out that Josh was a bully. He was a big kid with two missing front teeth. He had long, greasy black hair that covered his eyes. He had two earrings. One was a black skull and the other was a red flame. He was very scary. The kid he bullied last year moved away. Since I was the new kid, I was his first victim. I was short, had red hair, only weighed about ninety pounds, and wasn't very strong. I was a good target for him.

I tried to be friends with him, but he didn't want any part of that. Every day for the first half of the year, he pushed me, shoved me into lockers, tripped me, and punched me. I could not take any more!
 
I told Josh that I was going to the teacher and the principal if he didn't stop. He threatened me and said he would beat me up.

I didn't care what he said. I told the principal. Josh had to go to an anti-bullying class twice a week. My mom told me to just stay away from him. For three weeks, Josh didn't talk to me and left me alone. It would not last.

On Thursday of the next week, Josh followed me after school. I was halfway home when he came up beside me. He started calling me names and I kept walking. He pushed me into the alley and started punching me. I couldn't get away. Then this big guy came out of the back door of the gas station in the alley and pulled Josh off of me. He called the school. After that day, Josh had to go to the anti-bullying class every day after school. There was finally peace in the halls, and I didn't worry about being shoved into lockers. I became the most popular kid since I finally got Josh put into his place. Everyone was happy!

My father got a better paying job in Phoenix, Arizona, so we left our home in Iowa City, Iowa. I was kind of sad because I had started to make friends. I was afraid to go to another school and run into another "Josh." My mother assured me that after we moved, she wouldn't get a new job. She would home school me. I was so happy. Now I, Jonny Cheer, will never have to be bullied at school ever again.

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