My name is Darren. I am 16 and doing my my final year at school (I hope). I have never really liked school much...
Trouble is I don’t think the other kids like me very much. I get on all right with the teachers: I always sit at the front of the class so I can try to answer the questions and I like to watch the teachers closely. I have trouble with my eyes and I wear glasses but the other kids think I’m a teacher’s pet and they often laugh at me when I try to say anything.
I’ve got a sister, she’s five years older than me – she liked school and had loads of friends. But I don’t like her much. She doesn’t think much of me - she always joins in when my Dad starts shouting at me.
Dad’s OK but he’s very strict with me – he thinks I should do loads of sport and go out with mates but I prefer to stay in and watch telly or play games.
I don’t want to go out with the others as they push me around a lot. I'm not as tall as them, and they call me on it. The worst thing is they hit me sometimes. They talk a lot about girls and I don’t know any so just shut up.
At school most of them belong to groups - gangs, really - and it can get scary. So at break I try to hang around near where the teachers stand so they can see if anything happens. That’s OK till it comes to going home time - then, I have to try to keep out of their way when I walk back.
Once they pushed me down and rubbed mud all over my new top. I told my Mum I fell over but I don’t know if she believed me – my Dad was really cross that night. They like to get my bag and throw it over the hedge where I can’t get it back.
Then I have to find a way of calling on the house where the old lady lives, and she doesn't like kids. She says she’s going to call the police about me. If she does that, I don't know what I could do - they'd know it was me if I told the cops what was happening.
Mum and Dad want me to stay on at school but I don’t want to. I’m not clever and I would like to earn some money of my own. Problem is, I keep wondering what work will be like: is it like school or is it better there?
I wish I had someone I could talk to. Someone who really understands me and how I feel. I think I could have friends, but I need to find the right people. I don’t want to do drugs or anything – some of the kids I know do those things and they steal, I don’t want to get into all that stuff. My Mum would be so upset if anything like that happened to me.
These stories are composites based on real experiences