Start A Petition

Twenty Names - A Short Tale By Michael Moore

Society & Culture  (tags: abuse, activists, americans, children, culture, dishonesty, education, ethics, freedoms, government, politics, society )

- 2168 days ago -
"Turn around!" I did as I was told. "You know the rules. Shirts are to be tucked in." I tucked it in. "Bend over." He was carrying "The Paddle," a shortened version of a cricket bat, but with holes drilled in it to get maximum velocity.

Select names from your address book   |   Help

We hate spam. We do not sell or share the email addresses you provide.


Kit B (276)
Tuesday June 12, 2012, 8:03 pm

Moore, YOUR SHIRTTAIL is out!"

It was the voice of Mr. Ryan, the assistant principal for discipline at my high school, and he was right on my back. Not figuratively. He was literally on it.

"Turn around!"

I did as I was told.

"You know the rules. Shirts are to be tucked in."

I tucked it in.

"Bend over."

He was carrying "The Paddle," a shortened version of a cricket bat, but with holes drilled in it to get maximum velocity.

"C'mon, this is not right," I protested. "Itís a shirt!"

"Bend over. Donít make me tell you again."

I did as I was told. And as I was bending over, I marked the date on my mental calendar as being the last time I would ever do what I was told to do again.


I felt that intensely. The flat board of hard wood smacking against my rear end, and the two-second delay before the pain set in.


He did it again. Now it really hurt. I could already feel the heat of my skin through my pants, and I wanted to take that paddle and bash him over the head.


Now the greatest pain became the humiliation I was experiencing thanks to the growing crowd and the eyes of everyone in the cafeteria who was standing to get a look at what was happening in the hallway.

"Thatíll do," the sadist said. "Donít let me see you with your shirt out again."

And with that he walked away. He had no idea how profoundly he had just changed my lifeóand his. He had, in that one act of corporal punishment, created his own demise. How many times had this man struck a child in his career? A thousand? Ten thousand? Whatever the number, this would be his last.

Itís funny, isn't it, how one minute youíre just walking down the hall with your shirttail out, youíre thinking about girls or a ball game or how youíre on your last stick of Beamanísóand then the next hour you make a decision that will affect all the decisions you make for the rest of your life. So random, so unplanned. In fact, it puts the whole idea of making plans for your life to shame, and you realize you really are wasting your time if youíre trying to come up with a college major, or how many kids to have, or where you want to be in ten years. One day Iím thinking about law school, and the next week I've committed all my meager teenage resources and energy to stripping an adult of whatever power he thinks he wields with that big paddle.

I straightened upward, red-faced for all to see in the cafeteria. There were plenty of snickers and guffaws, but mostly there was that look people have when they've just seen something they've never seen before. I was known as a good student. I was known as someone who had never been given the paddle. No one ever expected to watch me being beaten by the assistant principal. I was not the type of student you would see being told to "bend over." And that was what was so entertaining about this particular beating to the gathering crowd.

Itís not like Assistant Principal for Discipline Dennis Ryan hadn't been gunning for me in the past, or that I hadn't done anything to deserve his wrath. I had done plenty. By the time I was halfway through my senior year, I had organized my own mini protests against just about every edict that Ryan and the principal, Mr. Schofield, had laid down. The latest of these revolts involved convincing nine of the eighteen students in the senior Shakespeare class to walk out and quit the class.

The teacher had just handed back to me my twenty-page paper on Hamlet with a giant red "0" on top of it. That was my grade: Nothing. Zip. I stood up.

"You cannot treat me this way," I said to him politely. "And I am officially dropping out of this class." I turned to the students.

"Anybody want to join me?"

Half of them did.?The zero grade would lower my GPA to a 3.3 by the end of the year. I couldnít have cared less.

Excerpt from the book by Michael Moore "Here Comes Trouble: Stories From My Life"

This one is a MUST READ...

Jason S (50)
Tuesday June 12, 2012, 8:33 pm

Judy C (97)
Tuesday June 12, 2012, 9:41 pm
Thanks for posting this great story. I only wish, like MM did, that the hispanic student could have been defended and graduated with the group. I know that lesson taught Moore a lot, though.

I spent grades K-11 at a parochial school, where the nuns and priests could use corporal punishment. If you went home and told your parents they hit you,, most of them would just hit you again! My very last year of high school, I went to a public school over my father's objections. I just couldn't deal with the discipline any more.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday June 12, 2012, 10:05 pm

Thanks Judy.

I guess that was part of the reason I shared this story. I was in the 3rd grade, had been sick with Scarlet Fever, finally was cleared to return to school. Yes, the school knew why I was out, and had doctor's notes. My teacher, used one of those paddles that Micheal describes, and I was covered on both legs and my back side with welts and broken skin, that did bleed. The reason for the beating? I asked if I could be excused from a test, it was my first day back, I was not prepared for a test. What did I learn? How does one learn from being beaten? You learn fear, and mistrust, not much other then that.

As a teacher, I never even considered hitting a child, as parent I did not hit my children. I wanted them to trust me, not fear me.

Kit B (276)
Tuesday June 12, 2012, 10:06 pm

Sending a Green Star is a simple way to say "Thank you"
You cannot currently send a star to Judy because you have done so within the last week.

Yvonne White (229)
Thursday June 14, 2012, 3:05 pm
I feel sorry for all the victims of bullies, children & adults.. I made clear to every teacher my kids had that NO spankings would be Allowed at school & if they thought one was needed they better call me & I would do it if I thought the same - but NO child should be spanked without finding out the "why" of the situation (which is usually a fight - NEVER for asking a simple question! Sorry you had that happen Kit!:(
Or, log in with your
Facebook account:
Please add your comment: (plain text only please. Allowable HTML: <a>)

Track Comments: Notify me with a personal message when other people comment on this story

Loading Noted By...Please Wait


butterfly credits on the news network

  • credits for vetting a newly submitted story
  • credits for vetting any other story
  • credits for leaving a comment
learn more

Most Active Today in Society & Culture

Content and comments expressed here are the opinions of Care2 users and not necessarily that of or its affiliates.

New to Care2? Start Here.