I noticed they locked the gate afterwards.
The year 8’s let out a cr of encouragement, cawing and screaming at the top of their lungs:
I turned, curious at what could engage their attention so completely.
"He’s coming to the gate!" I heard someone behind me exclaim.
The only person he could have been describing was an Aboriginal man wearing a black shirt and trousers with an outrageous pointed hat, loosely carrying a glass bottle. He walked with just the hint of a strut, and upon entering the school grounds was met with a roar of enthusiasm. I thought perhaps he was a famous sportman or something along the lines. Why else would he be so well acknowledged? Why would a teacher with dark glasses and a business-like suit go to meet him?
It was only when he grabbed the stranger’s arm that I realised perhaps that I was mistaken. The Aboriginal man eluded his assailant, striding on and almost nodding to his audience, his eyes sweeping them courageously. It was then the other man grabbed hold of his arm, attempting to drag him from our sight, but he broke free, increasing his pace to a jog. In his suit, the man could not keep up, or otherwise did not want to entertain us.
All the students nearby had run to watch the event, and I found myself laughing with them. Some of them jeered relentless, and I was swept among them.
He made his way across the wuadrangle and to the undercroft of the canteen.
"What the f***?" I asked to no one in particular, stepping into the quad to get a better look. "What the f***?" I repeated. The mass of black uniforms surged forward, intent on following, but a large man with a gray suit cut them off.
"GET BACK!" Mr Kenny, head of secondary schoo, yelled. The students scattered and were driven back immediately by this new intimidating force.
"Come on, move it unless I start picking on individuals!"
Not wanting to be seen, I blended with the crowd. Some of them made attempts to continue watching, but others just laughed and turned back to their lockers.
The action was over now. The Aborigine was led back across the quad, and with the lack of onlookers (for Mr Kenny was still herding them away), he seemed to acquiesce, taken quietly outside by the man with the glasses. We didn’t see him after that.
After it was all over, I began to wonder.
"What happened to that man? How will he feel when he wakes up? Why is he shunned away?" New questions arose. "What will happen to him now? Where is he going to go? Why is he so unfortunate, and more importantly, why do we laugh at his misfortune?" I was overwhelmed by the guilt of joining my peers- a mindless urge to contend took hold of me, and without thinking or reasoning, I had jeered along side them.
We were all persecuting him. The only reason I was among them was because they wanted me to be, but the reality was bleak and taunting. That man was innocent. I cannot say the same.