A day of class! Have you ever heard anything like this? The only bonds we had in my day were ionic, covalent, metallic, and molecular. School was all about pounding fact after fact into our heads, none of that delicate emotional well-being malarky. Collective PTSD was the closest we got to some sort of bonding with our classmates, and look at us – aren’t we great? I mean apart from the crippling emotional issues and whatnot. But today’s soft youth needs to bond, so I had to dig deep and shell out a whopping €20 to take my son on a luxury cruise to a beautiful island as part of a bonding experience of sorts. I had assumed the English teacher would stage a live re-enactment of Lord Of The Flies, but apparently no – it was just to give them a day off. So my “packed lunch? More like packed clams!” Wit was totally wasted on him.
From Cobh (rarely a good omen, behold – Titanic, The) you would be headed straight for the tropical delights of Spike Island, nestled in the heart of Cork Harbor (as a Cork person, I’m bound by contract to claim it’s the second largest natural harbor in the world). In many ways it was the perfect place for a rowdy group of teenagers, as it was once a juvenile detention center. But they made it to the island and back without anyone falling overboard or being left behind. As for the bonds formed that day, who knows, but my son’s circle of friends had their own issues in that regard.
There’s a loose group of five of them who band together. Some are old friends from national school, others have known her since the beginning of secondary school. At one point, friction arose between two of them and a group decision was made to exclude the child they all blamed for the broke. Of course, all of this was unknown to us until an overnight stay was arranged for our house and we had parents asking who was going and then pulling their child away when they heard the guest list. It became quite dramatic and my wife and I, as the kids would say, got caught. We had no idea all this drama was taking place and that someone had been booted out of circles.
Things got worse after that when the bootee found out he had been ghosted by his buddies without really being told why and the rest of the group tried to hold more gatherings at our house without him finding out. If it were 1995 you might be able to pull this off, but thanks to social media, everyone knows where everyone is and what they’re doing at all times. The problem for us was that we were then complicit in excluding that kid from the group and no one wants to be the person to do that. Being a kid isn’t easy and suddenly it doesn’t feel good to be outside.
When I was in secondary school, three of my friends were expelled from school. Looking back, it wasn’t a big deal – they were caught stealing sherry from the school canteen, but there also happened to be three students with less than outstanding grades – and they were kicked out. I was left virtually stateless and mateless for at least a year, not fitting into any of the well-formed social groups in the class. Experience has taught me that being outside is not much fun. Obviously, you could say, “Well, if you hadn’t been hanging out with teenage dipsomaniacs, you might have fit in a little more and not literally ended up as Billy No Mates.” But everyone needs a tribe.
Towards the end of the summer, my son’s group decided to resume exile. There was parental dismay, but whatever the issues behind his banishment, they seemed to resolve them. So they’re all friends again, all walking home from school together, sharing bags of chips and playing online video games together, and sitting on the boat together on their school field trip — because no kid is an island, even if they’re bobbing around on a boat in the second largest natural harbor in the world.
https://www.independent.ie/life/family/parenting/three-of-my-friends-were-expelled-when-i-was-in-secondary-school-i-was-left-stateless-and-mateless-for-at-least-a-year-42004886.html Three of my friends were expelled from school when I was in secondary school. I was stateless and partnerless for at least a year