I went to catholic school for nine years. It is all a matter of perspective when relating one's experiences.

I received a detention for wearing elf boots. And for wearing a sweatshirt over my uniform on a chilly winter day. A friend of mine was suspended for three days for coming to school with his hair spiked. I understand that following the school's dress code allows for the reduction of distraction and prejudice, but this was at an age where I felt the need to express myself. Unfortunately, I was highly influenced by punk music at the time so the school did what it had to do.

Most catholic schools are private meaning you must pay to attend. My family was poor. My sister and I were given the privilege of attending for free as long as my mother was active in church affairs. A very nice thing for the school to do, yet all my uniforms were old and beat up since we purchased them from a thrift shop. Most of the children I went to school with were rich. I was often reminded by the children that I was poor and not worthy to be their friends. Once, in fact, I was told by a girl, "your not invited to my birthday party 'cause you are poor and can't afford a nice gift." (Sounds like a South Park episode, eh?) Meanwhile, I was learning the teachings of Jesus. 'Love one another as I have loved you' just didn't make sense anymore.

There are numerous other experiences, but this is all my perspective. Catholic school did give me a solid education and it imprinted upon me good morals even though I presently do not practice Catholicism.
I went to a Catholic Primary School, which I really hated. At the time, it seemed like Hell. Looking back on it though, it probably wasn't that bad. Yes, it was strict. I remember getting a detention and having to write a four page essay after speaking during assembly. This was pretty harsh at that age, I thought.

The school used to be an all girls school and they had only recently allowed boys in. This meant that I was one of six boys in my year and they managed to suspend one of them by the end. Looking back on it, if only my secondary school had as many girls, when I could appreciate them a bit more... anyway, not to be.

I remember getting very annoyed at the Headmistress one day when I was told that I had to get some non-marking shoes so that they would not mark the floors. Since my parents had only bought the shoes the day before, I told her that she could piss-off if she thought that I was going to tell them to buy some new shoes.... Anyway, after phoning my parents to tell them that I had told her to eff off I went home to face the wrath of my parents. I had to write an apology to her and ended up getting, I think 30 lines. Not bad, I had got more for talking in assembly... weird huh. However one of my friends wasn't so lucky since he'd not apologised for doing something and was made to stand in her office at lunch for like a week or two.

The boys were not allowed to sit with each other in class or at lunch and so were given seats that we had to occupy so that we could not talk to each other, since apparently something evil would happen if we did, I don't know, Satan himself might be summoned or something... despite all this, they did have a head boy, etc. I remember being made deputy head boy, which was nice however it turned out that I had to go round in the morning and sort out all the points for each house, etc, even when they reward you, it's only so that they can throw some more shit at you. I remember having my badge taken off me and forcing them to give it back since otherwise I would not do my duties, which seemed fair. Catholic school at least gave me tuition in being manipulative, lying and telling people what to do. I'm not entirely sure if that was the objective, but that is what I learnt in order to stay out of trouble.

Looking back, it was not as bad as all that. I made some good friends and got a good education, but I remember really hating it at the time. I think that a lot of it for me was having to move to a different school. I admit that the punishments handed out there do not appear to have been greater than those at any other type of school, but they are the only experience that I have. No child wants any punishment and will resent it, since the wider implications are not understood at that age.

One of the problems is that when you have an organization with two separate and independent value systems (in this case, school and convent) one of the systems will suffer for the sake of the other. For example, old and/or unqualified nuns can be put to teach children. By unqualified I mean that these women had no preparation, training, or disposition for either teaching or dealing with children. And since the good of the convent has taken precedence, no control is exercised over the damage to the children.

The only thing that still pisses me off about Catholic elementary school is the way it aggravated some of my little sister's instabilities. Maybe it even created them. When she was in first grade, her "teacher" used to lock kids in the closet as punishment, tie them to their desks, and other such merriments. I still wish I had slapped the nun's face when she had me called to my sister's classroom so I could witness her humilation for having made a harmless mistake with some school material.

Two years later, my sister had a teacher who used to fall asleep in class. Perhaps God was trying to give the kids a break. But try to think what in the world kept all those seven year olds sitting quietly in their desks with their hands folded as the nun snored quietly?

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