Made In CMS

Richard Vinroot

East Mecklenburg High, Class of 1959

You’ve asked me to talk about an event during my twelve years in Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools that is memorable and involves teachers or principals that I admire.

The one that comes to mind is on the first day of school in the 9th grade when I got on my school bus and as I had been for the last three years, 6th through 8th grades, was subjected to bullying by a boy on our bus who had bullied me, my brother and others for the longest time I could remember. Over the summer, however, between the 8th and 9th grades, I’d grown up. I’d grown to be 6 feet 4 and instead of being bullied I decided I’d had enough and beat up the bully.

As a result, when I got to McClintock Junior High that day, I was called into the principal’s office, Mr. Randall, who smiled at me and said, “I heard what happened and we can’t have fighting on the bus.”  He then sat me down in a chair across from his desk, called the Principal at East High School, Mr. D. K. Pittman, told him what happened, and they both decided that I, a new 9th grader, and the other boy, Tommy, an 11th grader, would both be kicked off the bus for one month and would each have to find our way to school without the bus ride. He decided and told my parents he thought I should walk to school and I did for the following month.

But that event where I decided I had had enough and fought back and beat up the bully was a turning point for me in school.  I never put up with bullies again ever in my life either in school or thereafter. And I don’t like it when bullies bother other children and have always made that a subject that I’ve told my children “Don’t put up with it.  I won’t and you shouldn’t.”

But I also admire Mr. Randall who smiled at me when he knew that I had done something that was appropriate and deserved under the circumstances. And instead of shouting at me, he smiled and called the other principal and both decided that a suitable punishment was making the other boy and me walk to school for the following month.

I did so every day for that month and now 50+ years later every time I drive that three mile stretch between my home on Meadowood Lane and McClintock Junior High School on Rama Road I remember that particular event in my life. It was meaningful to me and it was meaningful the way that both Mr. Pittman and Mr. Randall handled it and it helped me grow up and take my punishment as a consequence.

- Richard Vinroot