The Girl Who Was a Persona Non Grata, Part II
They Called Her Rag Doll
Hope Cairn managed to survive the first grade despite the disrespect she received from Mrs. Hancock. Her grades went from a C to a B+. Mrs. Hancock was reluctant to give Hope B+ grades because she deemed Hope as being totally inept. Hope then progressed to the 2nd grade under Mrs. Collins.
Mrs. Collins was a rotund teacher in her fifties. She was kind and outgoing as Mrs. Hancock was cruel and taciturn. Hope really blossomed under Mrs. Collins' tutelage. Mrs. Collins told Hope that she could achieve everything and anything she is determined to. Mrs. Collins believed in treating all of her students equal, regardless of their socioeconomic income and parents' status.
Barbara Montpelier was in for quite a rude awakening when she was under the tutelage of Mrs. Collins. One day, there was a test and Barbara earned her first C. Of course, Barbara was totally nonplussed at this, confronting Mrs. Collins. Mrs. Collins politely replied to Barbara that she deserved the C. Barbara argued that she never made a C in her life and this was totally ludicrous, ordering Mrs. Collins to change the grade to an A.
Mrs. Collins steadfastly refused to change the grade. Barbara sensed this, threatening to tell her parents and to have Mrs. Collins fired. Mrs. Collins simply ignored the surly brat. The next morning after the grades were received, Dr. and Mrs. Montpelier marched to the school, ordering that they speak to the Principal, Dr. Sorenson. He became quite apprehensive when he saw the Montpeliers. He then had them sit down in his office. The Montpeliers started to state that Mrs. Collins was picking on their precious Barbara, further demanding that her test grade be changed.
Dr. Sorenson's face ashened completely, summoning for Mrs. Collins to come to his office immediately. Whem Mrs. Collins appeared at Dr. Sorenson's office, he harshly questioned her as to why Barbara's grade was a C as this was highly impropable to say the least. Mrs. Collins crisply and calmly replied to Dr. Sorenson that Barbara deserved the C she earned, adding that it was only fair! When Dr. Sorenson heard this, he started pounding the desk!
Dr. Sorenson ordered Mrs. Collins to change Barbara's grade as the Montpeliers were the main contributors to the school and without them, the school would be solely dependent upon outside grants. He asserted that he did not want this at all! Mrs. Collins stated that it would be totally unethical to change Barbara's grade. Mrs. Montpelier then approached Mrs. Collins, threatening her if she elected not to change her Barbara's grade from a C to an A, she would be fired. She then added that Mrs. Collins would not be able to teach at any other school; she would ascertain this to the utmost degree! She then started to smoke and of course, Mr. Montpelier agreed.
In spite of the Montpelier's admonitions, Mrs. Collins asserted that Barbara's grade won't be changed and the issue is totally nonnegiotable! Dr. and Mrs. Montpelier then stormed out of the office. Dr. Sorenson proceeded to have a lengthy discussion with Mrs. Collins regarding changing Barbara's grade. Mrs. Collins, however, remained adamant.
Dr. and Mrs. Montpelier then circulated with the other parents to have Mrs. Collins terminated because she refused to cave in to the demands of the wealthier parents. While many of the wealthier parents concurred with the Montpeliers, there are other parents, mine included, who asserted that Mrs. Collins was an excellent and impartial teacher who should be retained. The Montpeliers lost this case and the other parents, who were in the majority, overruled them.
Of course, the Montpeliers were incensed that their precious princess would be treated like the other pupils with no special privileges. The poorer pupils, especially Hope, loved Mrs. Collins to death. They were treated as human beings as opposed as troublesome annoyances under the tutelage of Mrs. Hancock. Second grade was a dream for Hope. She really bloomed and thrived. Her grades went from being B+ in the last quarter of the first grade to being mostly As in the second grade.
Then the 2nd grade classes ended and it was time for 3rd grade. Hope was about to get quite a surprise. An unpleasant surprise-Mrs. Hancock again! She was assigned now to teach 3rd grade. Hope knew that she was going to under hell or at least purgatory. Mrs. Hancock now had it in for poor Hope for no reason whatsoever.
Hope started 3rd grade under a very dark cloud. Mrs. Hancock imperiously walked into the classroom, greeting her favorite students which included me, Barbara, and ten other students. She elected to ignore the other students. She then turned to Hope, looking her demonically. She then proclaimed in the presence of the other students that Hope was not going to make it out of third grade and she would see to that! She then smiled in a way which made your hair rise on your neck!
Mrs. Hancock adored Barbara and vice versa. She was so positively elated that Mrs. Hancock was her teacher instead of the hated Mrs. Collins. Mrs. Hancock, of course, elected Barbara to be the class monitor who would report other students' misdeeds. However, Barbara did not do this fairly-she protected her friends and the other wealthier pupils while reported the so-called misdeeds of the poorer pupils.
One day in March 1961, Mrs. Hancock had to leave the class on a quick emergency, assigning Barbara to be the class monitor. Barbara let her favorites talk and otherwise disturb the class while the other students were busy answering questions from a history book. When Mrs. Hancock returned, she queried Barbara how the students were. Barbara stated that all the students were so well-behaved -with the exception of Hope! Hope glared at Barbara, accusing her of a boldface lie. Barbara just plainly looked at Hope, continuing with her false statement. Mrs. Hancock agreed with Barbara, refusing to hear what the other students said about the incident.
Mrs. Hancock icily looked at Hope, announcing that she would have no recess in addition to staying after school for the rest of the school year. Hope boldly protested that this was not fair at all. She added that Barbara's friends were the ones talking and creating a disturbance, not her! Mrs. Hancock shouted at her to shut up! Hope retaliated, stating how dare Mrs. Hancock talk to her like that! She strongly asserted to Mrs. Hancock that she was a human being entitled to fair and equal treatment, not a persona non grata. Mrs. Hancock was shocked at Hope's response, abruptly taking her to Dr. Sorenson's office.
As Mrs. Hancock and Hope approached Dr. Sorenson's office, the receptionist beckoned them in. Dr. Sorenson asked Mrs. Hancock what was the problem. As Hope tried to explain the situation, Mrs. Hancock unceremoniously cut Hope off, stating that she was quite an incorrigible student who regularly causes disturbances to the class. Hope tried to dispute this, of course but Mrs. Hancock again cut her off. Mrs. Hancock asked Dr. Sorenson how should the situation be remedied!
Dr. Sorenson initially looked nonplussed. He then concurred with Mrs. Hancock regarding the punishment. He then added that Hope was to be made an example of for the other so-called troublemakers in the class. Mrs. Hancock smiled and roughly dragged Hope out of the principal's office. He then added that Hope was to be corporally punished in front of the class! When she heard this, she pushed Mrs. Hancock into the board, running away from her.......