From Friday’s Telegraph:

“The head teacher of a girls’ secondary school has suspended 40 pupils after what she described as an ‘absolutely frightening’ case of bullying.

“Pamela Orchard took the action after viewing CCTV footage of the incident of ‘mass intimidation’ in which the large group of girls formed a circle around one 15-year-old pupil and threatened and verbally abused her.

“‘In 36 years of teaching I have never seen anything like this,’ said Mrs Orchard, of the 900-pupil Glenmore School, Bournemouth, Dorset.”

Well, you haven’t been looking very hard, love.

Just as Eton has its Wall Game, the unofficial school sport at my illustrious alma mater, Wilnecote High, was “Murder Ball”. The rules were simple. Every male on the concrete school yard chased after the eponymous ball (usually some squishy lump that had previously been a dog’s toy). From the moment you caught the ball you were considered to be “fair game”. Once you had the ball, you then had to hang on to it for as long as possible while everyone else was free to kick you. The longer you could cling to it, the “harder” you were. Since most of the boys were spineless fucks, when someone who was generally acknowledged to be “well hard” was in possession, no-one was too heavy with the blows. There might have been consequences.

I would stay uninvolved, away from the scrum, wearing my hooded “Parka” coat, hating the cold, yearning for some girl, worrying about The Bomb or my homework. One day, one of the little thugs decided to involve me more directly, by shoving the ball down into the hood of my coat to render me a legal target. This soon became a standard variant of the canonical form, like Australian Rules to Association Football: stuff the thing into Damian’s coat; kick the shit out of him.

Eventually one teacher (Mr Scoggins, Geography) decided not to turn a blind eye to this recreation, piled in, peeled me off the playground surface, and pulled the usual suspects in for a bollocking. It stopped them doing it to me for a few weeks. During the attacks, my mind would shift from maths or nuclear holocaust to speculation about why the flock felt it necessary to construct this abstract excuse around their collective desire to destroy me. Why invent a stupid game and pervert it? Why not just march onto the playground and jump on me en masse? Probably something to do with their spinelessness. Yesterday evening I smiled as a harmless looking middle-aged woman stood her ground in the face of an advancing hoodie-wearing, knuckle-dragging teenager, forcing him to step down off the pavement. She told her husband within the kid’s hearing, “I don’t see why I should always have to make way for them.” It probably helped that hubby was about six-three and looked like he could once have played for the All Blacks.

Every time some poor little bastard in this country is stabbed or beaten to death by his “schoolmates”, every time some child is found hanging from a rope in his bedroom or chokes on her own vomit after administering an overdose to herself the media go into “soul searching” mode and wonder how it could have happened here. It’s as though they have no memory of their schooldays, no insight into the lizardoid brains of their own spawn, are completely blind to the casualty cruelty all around them.

Yeah, children are cute and lovable aren’t they? Bull. Male or female, they are born instinctively selfish, intolerant, vicious shits. After a few years they learn cowardice and conformity too. Many, if not most, British schools (fee-paying, or not) are host to chronic, petty violence. Amongst the inmates, both inside and outside the gates, might is always right—just as it is in prisons or barracks. If you are a parent or a teacher with the necessary time and patience you can love, educate, and discipline children out of their inherent evil, but it’s much easier the majority of the time to pretend that it isn’t there or suppress temporarily its worst manifestations when you can’t.

I am mostly a happy adult. This is partly because, many mornings, I wake up and remember that I don’t have to go to school and spend the day being addressed as a “black bastard” by my peers (and on one occasion referred to as “that coon” by one of my teachers), that chavs are sufficiently physically intimidated by me these days that they back off before trying their chances, that I don’t have to depend on bored, indifferent, weak-willed “authority” figures for my personal safety.

Today I have exactly no friends from any of the schools I attended. On the whole, I like it that way. They remind me of a time I’d rather forget. Why do so many other people find it so difficult to remember?