Dillan walked through the hall with her head down. Her long black hair hid her sad face. Her pretty new skirt was caked with mud and her pink sweater was no longer pink. A tear dropped from her cheek as she entered the nurses office.
“I have to go to the bathroom,” she told the nurse, who was sitting at a computer paying little attention to the dirty child who had entered her office.”Make it quick,” the nurse said without looking up. “The bell is about to ring.”
Dillan scurried into the bathroom at the back of the nurses office. She hurriedly scraped the mud off of her clothes and scrubbed her tear-stained face. When she was as clean as she could get herself, she ran off to class.
She tried to sneak into her classroom unnoticed, but it was to no avail. The teacher watched her as she came in.
“Good God, child!” the teacher cried. “What have you done to yourself?”
Dillan’s lip quivered. “I didn’t do it!” she replied defensively.
The teacher sniffed. “Well I can’t let you sit through my class looking like that,” she said. “Go to the office and get them to call your mother. Tell her to bring you some proper clothes.”
Dillan stood back up and headed out the door. As she did so, she could hear her classmates snickering.
Dillan walked to the office slowly.
“Can I help you?” the secretary asked as Dillan walked into the office.
Dillan nodded. “Mrs. Jackson says you have to call my mom. She says I need new clothes,” Dillan whispered softly.
“Very well,” the secretary replied. “What is your name?”
“Dillan Sanders,” Dillan whispered.
The secretary flipped through a thick book until she found Dillan’s name. Then she picked up the phone and began dialing.
“You may take a seat,” the secretary said when she hung up. “Your mom will be here shortly.”
Dillan sat in one of the offices few uncomfortable chairs. She fidgeted as she sat there. It felt like she had been there forever.
Finally Dillan’s mother rushed in through the main door. “What happened?” she asked Dillan as soon as she got close to her child. There was deep concern on her face.
Dillan burst into tears. “Those boys said I was a freak!” Dillan wailed. “They pushed me down. They wouldn’t let me get up.”
A flash of anger crossed her mother’s face. “Did you tell a teacher?” she asked.
Dillan shook her head. “The playground monitor saw them,” she said. “He told me to go inside and get cleaned up.”
Her mother’s jaw dropped. “And what did he do about the boys?” she asked.
Dillan shrugged. “They were in class when I got there,” she replied.
“He didn’t punish them?” her mother asked.
Her mother sighed. “Here,” she said, handing Dillan a bag of clothes. “Go get changed. I’ll talk to your principle.”
Dillan ran back to the nurses office as her mother walked into the principle’s office.
“I have to use the bathroom again,” she called as she ran inside.
This time the nurse looked up. “Why aren’t you in class?” she demanded.
“I have to change,” Dillan replied.
The nurse looked Dillan up and down. “So you do,” she replied. “Make it quick.”
Dillan hurried into the bathroom and threw her new clothes on. Now she was wearing a pair of pink jeans and a white bunny sweater. Happy with her new outfit, Dillan bounded back to class.
“I thought I told you to get some appropriate clothes,” Mrs. Jackson said when Dillan entered the classroom.
Dillan looked at her confused. “What’s wrong with my clothes?” she asked. She was once again on the verge of tears.
Mrs. Jackson scowled at her. “Little boys don’t wear pink,” she said coldly.
The class snickered again.
“I’m not a boy!” Dillan cried.
“Yes you are,” sneered one of the boys who had pushed her down the hill. A tall, lanky boy with a face full of freckles.
“I am not!” Dillan cried.
“That’s it!” Mrs. Jackson yelled. “I want you out of my classroom. Go to the principle’s office.”
Dillan ran back down the hallway crying. As she approached the office she saw her mother yelling at the playground monitor.
“My daughter is a human being!” she heard her mother shout. “Why can’t you people treat her like one?”
“Mrs. Sander,” the man said indignantly. “Your son is confused, and your encouraging him isn’t healthy. How will he ever learn to be a man?”
Her mother’s jaw tightened. “So you think you know better than every psychiatrist I’ve taken her to? Every doctor?” she cried. “What do you have? A two year certificate in how to watch children on a playground? A four year teaching degree? And that somehow makes you more knowledgeable than the people who have studied gender non-conformity and gender dysphoria?”
The man blushed. “I’ve worked with children for years,” he said. “I think I know what normal childhood behaviour is. There’s nothing natural about your son.”
Dillan watched the man in shock.
Her mother saw her standing there. “Oh dear,” she said. “I’m taking my daughter home. I’m done with this school.” She stormed over to Dillan and picked her up. She carried her daughter out of the school.
Dillan looked back knowing that she would never have to see all those mean people again.