It was just another normal day at Lake Shore Academy, but for Zara it was another day filled with fear.
Aliza had been bullying her since grade 4. Since the start of this year, she had banded up with old friends in the academy against her. They made fun of her because she liked horses. They jeered at her feather earrings. They tried to cut her hair and she could not do anything about it. Zara’s dad was always travelling for work and he hardly ever came home. Her mom could not spend time with her no matter how hard she tried, and she always came home late.
So, she hardly got a chance to tell them about this.
Zara stood outside the school with her bag, watching all the kids rush past her. “You can do this Zara. Don’t care whatever Aliza says. You still have Sally and Mom and Dad are always there for you. You can……… ” She gave herself a little pep talk.
She stepped inside and headed off to her locker. But Aliza had already been there and done her work.
Zara’s locker was now decorated with a huge wad of gum and the words LOSER sprayed in black paint next to which there was the picture of a horse with Zara’s face. She bit her lip to stop herself from crying. This was the first time Aliza had done this. Sally her best friend suddenly appeared next to her. It was as if her BFF antennae told her something was wrong from the other end of the hall.
Her voice, strong and determined, she asked “Who did this?”
Zara did not answer, instead she just pointed to the farthest locker in the room. Written there was the word ‘Aliza254’ in small letters.
Sally opened Zara’s locker and gasped. Her books were torn, a picture of her mom and dad together was slashed while the frame had been shattered and her horse keychain was broken. Paint was splattered all over Zara’s PE uniform and music poster. But worst of all her guitar case had been opened and the guitar strings were cut, and the wood smashed beyond repair. After clicking pics of all the damage, Sally turned and grabbing Zara’s hand, marched off to the Principal’s office.
“We are going to fix this once and forever,” Sally said angrily. “Aliza had better watch her back.”
Zara whimpered and allowed her BFF to lead her. They reached the office and knocked on the door.
“Come in,” said a pleasant voice. The girls walked in and saw Principal Melissa Green smiling. “What brings you girls to my office?” she asked.
Zara kept quiet and looked at her shoes.
Sally answered “Mrs. Green, we have come to report an incident. Aliza damaged Zara’s locker and her guitar. Here are the pictures.” Sally said showing the Principal the pics she had taken.
“What proof do you girls have that Aliza is the one behind this? ” she questioned not believing them.
“Mrs. Green you can check the CCTV footages,” said Sally confidently.
Mrs. Green raised an eyebrow and then opened a folder on the computer, labeled ‘Camera 2 Girls Locker Room.’ She clicked on a file and the video began playing. All three pairs of eyes were glued to the screen.
Mrs. Green straightened in her chair as a figure came into view. The time on the screen said 6.12.20 7:11 a.m. As the figure moved towards the locker, it became clear who it was, it was indeed Aliza. The girl then opened a small sheet of paper and typed in the numbers and the door swung open. She set to work pulling one thing after the other out. After taking out a pair of pliers and a few bottles of paint from her backpack, she began her work. The video kept playing as Mrs. Green’s face became more and more agitated.
She sent for Aliza, who came in a few minutes later. “Aliza are you responsible for damaging Zara’s locker and bullying her?” asked Mrs. Green, her face emotionless.
Aliza turned white and swallowed. “Um……I did not…”
“Young lady you are being suspended for three weeks and this is going to your parents,” said Mrs. Green pointing towards the footage.
Aliza froze in shock. “What will mom and dad say?” she thought aloud in a meekly voice.
“For two reasons,” continued the Principal. “From what I have heard, you have been bullying Zara since Grade 4 and as you know bullying is not tolerated. Second, you damaged her belongings and did not own up.”
Aliza’s parents were mad at her and she was grounded for a whole month. The punishment increased when they found out that she had failed in her exams.
When Mrs. Green heard from other students that they too had been bullied by her, she expelled Aliza. Lakeshore Academy became a happier place without her.