In my dreams I see the church office, isolated from the rest of my school’s campus, a foggy island holding space for its residents, my deepest fears. Throughout my childhood and adulthood, I’ve dreamt of tornadoes, fires, lightning storms, monsters, and murderers lurking around the corner of the tan brick façade. I’ve only ever dreamt of faceless villains, personifications of the terror I was burdened with in that building at four years old.
From the Student Handbook:
“Proper discipline sets the stage for proper learning. We believe in preventative as well as corrective discipline. This would include positive incentives as well as punitive correction measures. Children need boundaries and consistent leadership to achieve their highest potentials. Although some methods of discipline would, of necessity, vary according to a student’s age and maturity level, our goal would be to provide outward controls until self-control could be taught and then become an integral part of a child’s character. Good discipline is ordained of God. ‘Train up a child in the way he should go: and when he is old, he will not depart from it.’ Proverbs 22:6”
The pillows and blankets we brought from home stayed in our cubbies all year except for a 30-minute nap time each day. Our tiny Kindergarten hands would reach past our backpacks and lunchboxes to dig out the musty, wood-smelling linens. We’d plop them on our desk, lay our heads down and Mrs. Haney would turn off the lights. The glow from the fluorescents in the hallway would shine through the gaps in the cinder block in the doorway, leaving the room with an eerie, dusky ambience.
My desk was in the back of the classroom, a sink behind me and the cubbies to my left. In front of me was a sea of sleeping students, but to my right was James. Impossibly golden blonde hair and striking blue eyes, James stared at me and smiled. I waved back to him as we both swallowed our laughs. He whispered to me, “I have to pee!” My laughter was harder to hold. He moved his blanket back and showed me his pants, which were unzipped. I moved my blanket back and lifted my skirt. What followed was a dimly lit game of show and tell, which was abruptly interrupted by Mrs. Haney, who aggressively hit the light switch and screamed, “James and Jenny! Get up and go to…