The Principal was a Drill Sargent

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
A story about a mean spirited Jr High School principal who was not able to make the transfer from Marine to educator

Submitted: March 27, 2008

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Submitted: March 27, 2008

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The principal was a Drill Sargeant

Alford Dyson Jr.

Shortly after entering Jr. High, Todd came home complaining about the principle yelling and screaming at the ‘kids’ in the hallway. It wasn’t long before Mr. Keenan choose Todd as his morning target. Apparently, Mr. Keenan yells at ‘kids’ from in front of his office, a spot where is stands, arms folded, heels together, with sharp creases in his trousers, every time classes change. His spot gives him the best view of the two main corridors of the school, one to his right and one straight ahead leading to the gym and to rear door to the parking lot.

Todd explained that Mr. Keenan likes the students to walk close to the right wall when leaving the gym to return to their class. It wasn’t long before Mr. Keenan realized Todd was not pressed against the wall like all the others.

“Hey Dyson, get against the wall, you know the rules.’ His voice bounced off the lockers. Everyone was looking at Todd while fearing they would be next. They pressed against the wall. Mr. Keenan was not a man known for his soft comforting voice. He was a principal known for humiliating students. This is a man who, at the opening assembly each year, would look down at the students, pick out an unsuspecting, frighten sixth grader who had a sibling in the school and say, ‘Jane, your brother sat in that very seat two years ago, he has spent two years leaning how to be a decent human being, I sure hope you are quicker than he was.’ Everything about him screamed--Drill Sergeant… Shoes with leather heels, loud, booming voice, crisp white shirts, ties that were knotted and drawn tightly to his neck and a reputation for running a tight ship.

It was painful to listen to Todd describe the incident. How could the principal of the school be so insensitive, the anger in me grew? I promised Todd I would take care of this and he would not have to suffer through Mr. Keenan’s humiliating remarks again?

I headed to the Jr. High the next morning. As I walked to the back door, a door which would allow me to see Mr. Keenan standing at his usual spot between classes, I thought through my strategy. Simply put, when in Rome; do as the Roman’s do.

I entered the building just as classes where finishing passing by Mr. Keenan. I called out to him in my loudest voice. ‘Hey, Mr. Keenan, you are just the man I want to talk with you. I am Al Dyson, the father of Todd.’

I guess he couldn’t believe his ears. He walked briskly towards me, heels slamming hard on the tiled floor. From a few feet away he spoke, ‘come into my office Mr. Dyson, we will straighten this out.’

We walked towards his office in silence. We entered the outer office, he beckon me to follow as he slipped behind the front counter and took a few steps towards his office.

I called out, ‘this is good enough, and we are away from the students now, no need to go inter your office.’ The four women in the office looked down. Mr. Keenan’s face turned beet red. ‘Todd is a wonderful boy, he needs direction and guidance. The next time he needs guidance, please do it quietly, with compassion. He does not deal well with people who raise their voice, particularly in front of all his friends” Take care.

With that I turned to leave just as he turned to enter his office and slammed the door. Mr. Keenan and Todd never spoke to each other again.

Mr. Keenan retired a few years later and took his own life, a proud Marine who could not make the transition from active duty to family man and educator.


© Copyright 2017 alford dyson jr. All rights reserved.

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