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You will be found by Leigh-Jay O'Toole, Stoke on Trent College

February 2022

As I stepped through the hell-bound gates of my Primary School, I could hear my heart pounding in my chest like a rocket. Being the new girl put some strain on me to cope with for a while. I thought I was going to have the best three years of my life; I was in actual fact incredibly wrong. I didn't have any friends at all. I had to pretend to have friends when my parents asked if I had made any friends at school.

I walked into the assembly hall with a bright beaming smile that slowly faded away when I was being tormented by how I looked, dressed, how my hair was styled by the students in the middle of the class. They said, “Why would they let someone who looked like that come into this school? She doesn’t belong in this school and never will.” I didn’t want this to happen to me. I looked down in broken-heartedness and I asked myself, “Is there something wrong with how I look? Why aren’t they being nice to me? I haven't even spoken yet?” The teachers

looked at me and saw how much pain I was in, one teacher stepped towards me and whispered, “Are you okay? I heard what they said about you. I and the rest of the teachers don’t agree with what has been said about you. You do belong, you look nice, don’t listen to them. Come to me or the other teachers for help if you need it.” She walked to the front and pleaded with them not to be mean to me because I hadn’t done anything wrong in the first place. After the assembly, it was break-time and I didn’t know where to go because my tour guide was outside.

After all, she did not want to show someone like me around the school. As I walked around the overcrowded hallways, a group of students walked up to me. I tried to walk past them and ignore what they were saying to me, but that only

made things worse, they started to push me into the walls, pulling my hair, pushing me into door frames and that was only the start of it. It happened every day and every time I walked home with bruises, messy hair, and a headache.

The teachers were getting worried about me and started to ask questions about what had happened to me and I had to lie to them to keep myself safe. The bullies overheard the teachers asking me questions and they thought that I had told them everything about what they had done. They got mad and when they saw the teachers leaving, they came up to me and asked what I had told the teachers. I told them nothing and they started to hit me and left me leaning on the wall. One teacher came back to see if I had done the homework that had been set and saw me with bruises on my face and neck and she yelled for the teachers to come to help. Only two out of the nine came to help her.

The two other teachers ran back and saw me passed out in the teacher’s arms. They grabbed a cold compress on the bruises. They waited and waited until I woke up and I saw their faces. They asked me if I could tell them what had happened. I looked down and said, “It’s just me being clumsy again, nothing to worry about.” I didn’t look up at all when I told them that, they told me to be more careful next time. I could not tell the truth because if I did the bullies would do much worse than they had done to me.