Betta Run

Betta Run

I’d like to say my relationship with security was an ongoing misunderstanding. I mean, I hadn’t caused a ruckus in the last 10 years of my schooling. Jim just didn’t know me yet; I knew that’d change. 

My first encounter with the authority went a little rough, few red flags on my part. To set the scene for you, I’ll take you back a notch. Unable to participate in my weightlifting class because of a back injury, I ended up becoming a teacher’s assistant with my senior friend, Jake. We kept ourselves busy… wandering unseen parts of the school and tagging the attic, which was a tradition we were carrying on, so when they decide to tear the school down, we’ll literally go down in history.

One day, we decided we had done everything there possibly was to do in the school. There were extended periods that day, and we were extensively bored. The obvious solution, suggested by our teacher herself, was to go buy a class fish. We strutted out of the school doors and headed for ‘PetSmart’. The only issue was that our school happened to be a closed campus, but eh, we’d made a few coffee runs without any trouble in the past so this wouldn’t be much different. Getting off campus was a breeze, getting the fish was our first obstacle considering the pet store wouldn’t open for another 30 minutes. Reluctantly, we worked our way in by tugging on some heart strings and telling them we were desperate for the fish as a prop for a homecoming proposal. As intended, we marched out of there with a new class fish in hand and our pride flying high. 

Entering campus didn’t go as well. As soon as we whipped a left turn into the parking spot and got out my eyes locked in on Jim. It was time to strategize. He hadn’t seen us actually pull into the lot, so we could still work the “I was just grabbing this from my car speech”, but there wasn’t going to be an explanation as to why we had the fish.

Jim approached us and began with the questions. Our alibi had flaws, but we went with it anyway. We were simply grabbing Jakes soccer bag out of the trunk. Why we had the fish? Carlos (whom we had named just minutes before this confrontation, which the security guard didn’t need to know) needed some fresh air and a nice brisk walk to the parking lot and back. Jim wasn’t buying it and ordered us to the office to write our names down so he could talk to us later.

Mr. Genius Jake convinced me he would take the fall for this one and just write his name down. Little did I know, Jim would Hunt. Me. Down. I ate lunch in a teacher’s room and he still managed to find me. You could already assume this got me into even more deep trouble, which it did. Both Jake and I were pulled into the hall and given the longest lecture about how he told us exactly what to do, and the rules weren’t followed, and blah, blah, blah. Not one time did he actually question us about the problem that we had created in the first place by leaving campus. We apologized and scurried back into the classroom before we could receive a punishment for it. I like to think of that one as a “get out of jail free card”.

My second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth encounters were equally as misunderstood. There were some violations on my part. I may have parked in the parking lot without a pass. In my defense, there wasn’t ever enough parking elsewhere and 4 hour zones weren’t long enough to cover the duration of school. Plus, they ran out of passes, so I couldn’t buy one to solve the problem. There was no solution. I was getting a ticket either way. And by a ticket I mean “5” tickets. That added up on my school fines and didn’t make mother goose too happy either. Junior year our relationship ended with a bang when the final ticket threatened to tow me if I parked in the lot without a pass one more time. I abided and made the long trek from my parking spot alongside the road, which was lightyears away.

Senior year came around. This was the year my leadership advisor encouraged (forced) me to become an ASB officer. I was the Treasurer of the school now. Once I adopted that title I had freedom to do as I pleased. Permission was granted whenever I needed to leave the school to buy leadership goodies or props for assemblies, which also may have included some fast food on the way. Not to mention, I was provided with my very own parking spot free of charge that came with a fancy pass of its own. Needless to say, after all the troublesome moments of my first 2 years, I had gained full trust and freedom to roam as needed. A long, but well fought battle that ended on a positive note. I am just glad Jim got to see the new and improved me in my final year as the Treasurer of student body.

The relation to multicultural education may not be as evident in this story. Interestingly enough, there is a large factor that I includethat occurs in schools more than you would consider. Think about it, I was the same person the entire time. It wasn’t until my title changed that I was treated differently. It wasn’t until my title changed that I didn’t feel like I had to hide who I was or what I was doing. There are so many people hiding behind what they truly are and being made fun of or treated wrong because of how they look or what they do, but in reality, if people knew their background or who they actually were, they would see them differently and learn to accept them for who they were on the inside and outside. This can go with all types of people. African Americans, Hispanics, LGBT community, the poor, the disabled, the depressed, the abused, and so many, many more. Big or small, this can occur in numerous ways and to a multitude of people in schools and even out of schools without anyone even noticing. As a future teacher, this is an important aspect to keep in mind and remind myself to give people a chance to be themselves before I label them with my preconceived judgements. To say the least, this was an important lesson I learned in a long and unique way all thanks to a small Betta fish named Carlos. 

Side note: Carlos remains alive in the same classroom, three years old, and thriving as the class fish swimming next to solar powered, hula dancing, Nina.