A murder was committed in my classroom in my presence.
On that fateful day, when the murder in my classroom happened, I was teaching American history. The trouble started when a bully somehow appeared in my room. He entered uninvited, unwanted, and extremely agitated. He was, without a doubt, the smallest in the room. Yet every single man in the room seemed to be terrified. Everyone knew him, what he was about, and what he could do to each man in the room. He had a reputation everyone was familiar with.
No one knew why he entered. But we all knew he was there.
This bully threatened every person in the classroom (myself included). He got right in the face of almost everyone. Someone took a jab at him; he quickly outmaneuvered the jab and moved on to someone else.
I taught GED in a prison at the time of this horrendous event, and my classroom was full of felons. They were all tough men. For some, fighting was all they knew. When they were on the street, they might use fists, knives, guns, whatever was handy. Possibly, some of the men in my room were here for that very reason. Yet this little guy had everyone in my room terrified.
The bully charged another student. He almost fell out of his chair trying to get out of the way. A couple of the students threatened to kill the bully and took up offensive postures against him. One, with American history book in hand, even followed the bully around the room in an attempt to kill him. Some of these tough men were pleading with the bully to leave them alone. I could see the fear in their eyes. They wanted to hide. But where can you hide in a wide-open classroom?
Chairs were scooting, inmates were yelling at the intruder, and me, guess what I was doing? I was being a good role model for my students. Violence was not something I was going to demonstrate or advocate to these men. I took the nonviolent approach and used strong words of encouragement instead. I just told the students, “Leave him alone, and he will leave you alone. You will only make him more angry if you retaliate.”
I kept telling the bully to leave the room. (By this time, the history lesson was in a definite holding pattern.) The GED test was to be given the next day, so I was getting desperate to return to the lesson. I started to think I would have to take stronger action.
And then it happened.
One of my students picked up a book and hit the bully, knocking him to the floor. One student yelled, “Now you’ve done it! You’ve really made him mad.”
But the bully stayed on the floor and didn’t get up. Another student approached the bully and pronounced him, “Dead, dead, dead.”
The bully, the pest, the wasp was murdered that day.