Author – Exiled barefoot
We had a really funny story.
Our form master was a major history geek, and one day he organised a major oral history test with the school principal and one of his friends – some professor of history in a college somewhere.
Before the test someone suggested an idea, that if you don’t know the answer to the question you can made something up that sounds intelligent, and say something that more or less fits, and at least you won’t sound stupid.
A few boys answered wrong answers and then it was my turn. he asked me what happened in whichever year it was – maybe 1812, or something like that – and I wasn’t sure, so I said that the Czar of Russia exiled Prince Peter barefoot. The class tittered, since the formmaster the previous year had been a Mr. Peters, whom we nicknamed Prince Peter, and he often slipped his shoes off during lessons.
The principal and formmaster went outside with the professor, and a minute late they came back into class by themselves.
The formmaster told me to come up to the front, which has a rasied dais. then he told me to bring a chair, and to put it on his desk. I listened and then he told me to climb up and sit on the chair.
At this stage i hesitated as I wasn’t sure what was going on, and the formmaster screamed at me “listen to what I say” I looked at his face and I saw that he was really really livid, so I climbed up and sat on the chair.
The Principal then took my feet and bent them back towards the seat of the chair. he was quite rough and hurt me a bit. then the formamaster undid my laces, and pulled off my shoes. I could hardly beleive what was going on, i was in total shock, but before I could even think abut what was happening, I felt my trouser leg being moved up, a finger in my grey socks, and then my socks too were removed.
Then they told me to come down and stand bareffoot net to the classroom door. I looked at my shoes, simple lace up school shoes with two seams coming down to the front, with my grey ribbed socks inside, and I looked down at my feet and i had to make an effort not to cry.
They then called on another boy – an afro American called Jason – who had made the class titter with his answer. He climbed up, and the principal noticed he was wearing sneakers – which the school doesn’t allow. The formmaster took off his shoes and socks too, and told him to stand next to me.
The Principal then told everyone to take off their shoes and put on their desks. He found two more pairs of snaekers, which he brought to the front, telling those boys too to stand next to us in their socks. Another three boys whom he felt had embarrased the class he told to take off their socks and put inside the shoes on the teachers desk.
By this time the bell had rung for recess and he told everyone else to go outside to recess, leaving their shoes on thier desks. I couldn’t help wonder what someone would think were they to come in to the room at this satge, a pair of shoes on most the desks, and another seven pairs on the teachers desks’ six with socks inside/
He then paraded us seven – six of us barefoot, and one in socks – to the secretary’s office. it was recess so it was quite embarrasing, as everyone saw us.
In the office he told us that we suspenped from the school for a week, for the next week after that we would not be allowed to wear our shoes in school. He told the secretary to call all our parents.
That night we were all in touch with SMS and we agreed we would go to a shopping mall the next day which had indoor bowling. I didn’t have another pair of shoes, nor did most of the guys, and Jason who had been wearing his sneakers,
hs mother refused to let him wear his school shoes.
we came to the mall, and then one of the security guys saw us, mostly in our uniform gray socks, and he was really suspicious. they took us upstairs, made us go through metal detectors, checked the two pairs of shoes that we had. We explained thta we had been suspended shoeless for a week because we didn’t know the answers in an oral test. In the end he called the school to confrim, and it ended up making the school bad name. The shopping mall guys then decided that we couldn’t go bowling, so we just spent the day in the shops.
I only received my shoes back two weeks later, by which time i had become quite comfortable without them, and i had to get used them again.
After they gave all the shoes back the principal one day did a random shoes check, and Jason was wearing sneakers again. He took all the sneakers away, and he made the boys walk a couple of blocks in their socks. he kept Jason’s shoes, so of course the next day Jason turned up with his school shoes, and the principal toook those as well, and he ended spending another week in his socks, but i don’t think he even cared any more at that stage.