“She is an animal…We shouldn’t have to take kids like her”

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Today I hurt my hip when I was playing with my daughter on the trampoline. To be fair, I have been getting aches and pains for a while. I may be 38 in years but my body…and mind… feel well beyond those years. But we will come back to that another time.

My daughter loves gymnastics. She never goes to actual lessons or anything but has taught herself things such as the splits, summersaults, cartwheels etc.. I sit and watch her for hours sometimes as she bounces around the trampoline showing me her new routine to her favourite music.

I say “Watch for hours” as if I’m just casually sitting in my garden in the sun watching her. Not quite so. “Are you watching mummy” is shouted at me a thousand times and if I don’t clap at the right time…according to her…then I must deal with a very over dramatic 9-year-old

Anyway, she keeps asking to teach me a trick. Today she finally got me on the trampoline. I think its like my 3rd time in my life and tries to tech me a simple trick…bounce, land on bum, bounce to standing again. I tried so many times and could not do it. My son appeared at the back door and laughed at one of my attempts, gave some man like advice about my hands and then said, “Didn’t you do trampoline at school?”. I stopped bouncing and looked at him hard and said “No, I did not do trampoline at school. I didn’t do any PE at school”. Then my daughter looked at me shocked and said, “Why didn’t you do P.E at school mummy”. Then I said my hip was hurting and I said something about going to find Ice for it. There are some questions my little girl asks me that I choose not to answer. No yet.

I am not sure if this trampoline in school thing is new. Or something that only happened in mainstream education …but let me tell you this…There was no trampoline in the PRUs (Pupil referral units) that I attended as a child.

The last time I have ever done P.E was when I was about 11. I mean real fun running around P.E. I have never really liked doing sports. I liked football (But was not very good) and I was quite a good runner. I could run, duck and weave like a bad man by the age of 13. This “Skill” however was 100% developed by the streets on the streets.

Let me tell you about my last ever P.E lesson.

I was 13. Had been out of main stream education for some time and had quite recently started attending a PRU in Streatham, SW London. They started me on an hour a day, as they do in these kinds of units, so P.E was not something I had to face until I was there for longer days. The last P.E lesson I had done before that was during my last week in main steam education when I was in year 5. In this PRU, my P.E was on a Wednesday. The first week they did it I didn’t bring a P.E kit (on purpose obviously) and once the staff were looking elsewhere I left Streatham common, where the lesson was taking place, and went about my daily business. I got in so much trouble the next day. The teacher was so angry with me for going off. Now, as a practitioner, I understand that. When a vulnerable pupil is off site and you have no idea where they are, it can be so worrying. But my 13-year-old self was bored of the lesson before it even happened. I had very expensive trainers and clothes. There was no way I was gonna mess them up doing P.E.

The next Wednesday morning I was sitting with a boy in a Maths Lesson. I said that I didn’t want to do P.E. He said “Init, I never have to do it”. My head spun round “Why?” I said with a screw face on. “Because I kick off init Blud, I will fight if I lose and I chuck all the bats and shit around, so I can’t do it anymore”. This was honestly the best thing that I had heard all week.

P.E was at 11:15. I had a plan. Get to the common, dash all the footballs into the road or something, start a fight with someone…get sent away…simples.

The mini bus pulls up and we get on. I can tell you the feeling on the bus…hate. I didn’t know any of the kids on the mini bus and they were all doing my head in. We pulled up at a leisure centre and all got out. I felt a bit confused as I was expecting the common. Everyone was chatting, but I didn’t listen, just followed everyone through to this hall. And you know what they were doing?

Tennis. In a hall. In a hot hall. Not happening.

So, everyone is running around jumping and hitting balls and I am just standing there. A member of staff comes over “You ever played tennis before Kendra”. I gave them the duttiest look. I honestly don’t know who I thought I was! But she ignored this. “Come” she said “Try”. I sighed, took the bat out of her hand, and dragged myself over next to some yute I did not know. It was 2 Vs 2. The other 3 involved in this seemed to love it. Running up and down, hitting balls this way and that. Me now…. I hadn’t gotten home until 3 in the morning…Mum woke me at 8 for school. I had to be out on road tonight …I was not up for this. Suddenly. BANG. A ball hit me straight in the eye. It hurt. I started cussing and swearing. My partner, a boy around the same age said, “Shut up man, you’re just standing there, Good you got licked with the ball”.

The rage in me from the embarrassment and the hurt over boiled. I started walking towards him saying “If you’re a bad man come say that again”. I threw my bat into the back of his head and because he was walking away and not expecting it, it knocked him forward and he kind of stumbled to his knees. it just caught him off balance. As he went to his knees I was already running at him and booted him in the side. He went sliding across the floor, calling out in pain. He gets up, still has his bat in his hand and tries to smack me in the head with it. I step back. He is so angry.  He is shouting. He swings the bat again and I lean back, out of shot again. I grab my bat off the floor and pull my arm back as far it will go and just hit out. No thought. No aim. I feel it connect with him…something. I had squeezed my eyes shut as I swung it at the last second. I open them and can’t sort of take in what happened. There is blood running down the boys top and he is holding his ear screaming his head off. I drop the bat and go to say sorry..say something. I had been so angry just seconds before but now..I know I went to far. Suddenly there are people pushing me, guiding me away. Staff are leading me out the hall. I hear someone say, “She is an animal, we shouldn’t have to take kids like her”. That makes me angry, so I start resisting to where they are leading. Telling that member of staff to shut their mouth. I start pushing their hands-off my shoulders. I am crying…like kids do when they are angry.

I realise I have left my backpack in the hall. In that bag was stuff that I could not afford to lose. I start pulling away from the staff, telling them I need my bag. One of the male members of staff says, “No one cares about your stupid bag love”. He does not understand. I CAN NOT lose what is in that bag. I start kicking off. A lady says calmly, “Ok ok, tell me what you need from the bag and I will go get it”. All the blood leaves my face, I can physically feel it. She can not look in the bag. I start becoming aggressive. Start pushing and telling them to get their hands off me and what will happen if they don’t. I push past them and run back to the hall. The boy is still there, surrounded by adults. I run across the hall and pick up my bag, almost hugging it. The staff I have run off from have chased me into the hall. “Right” I hear a teacher shout “What ever she has in that bag, we bloody well need to see it”. My heart pounding, I start running near the fire exit, I reach and start pushing against the heavy doors. They burst open and I am free..fresh air filling my lungs. I ran back to my endz as fast as my little blonde legs could carry me.

My mum got called in. Lots of talking. It was decided that I would not do P.E with others. My P.E would be on a 1:1 with an adult. They also said that I would be searched randomly throughout the week as they were concerned with what I was brining int school in my bag.

1:1 P.E sessions never happened. I spent every P.E lesson from that day on in Isolation. Where I spent most lessons to be fair. They searched me once for the remainder of the time I was in that PRU. They knew they would never stick to what they said and so did I. I knew inconsistent adults when I saw them. Sadly…there lack of searching ended up being the reason I was removed from a PRU and placed in an ALC (Alternative learning curriculum) but that…that’s another story…

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