DATE: 12 February 2013
TRANSCRIPT: Student Interview of Owen Gault for The Tower’s ‘WHO IS ?’ series
AMANDA: Hello, this is Amanda Mardon, Student Editor of The Tower. This is my first video interview for the Who Is series, which is an intimate look at hallway and classroom life at Citadel High through the eyes of my fellow students. My first interviewee is Owen Gault. Ready, Owen?
AMANDA: I’ll take that as a yes. Look at me, not at the camera. Just relax. I won’t broadcast this on a jumbotron. It’ll be for school use only. Start by telling me about yourself.
AMANDA: Because that’s how you start an interview. People want to know who they’re listening to. If you were Brad Pitt, I would skip the intro.
OWEN: That’s the problem. I’m already known by the wrong people. I don’t need more attention.
AMANDA: Come on. You agreed to do this. I thought you wanted to expose teacher incompetence in the classrooms. Let’s just go through the interview and we can edit it together later. I’ll let you approve the final cut.
OWEN: Fine. My name is Owen Gault. I’m a freshman. I take English Lit in first period, Math in second…
AMANDA: You don’t need to go into that kind of detail.
OWEN: Then what do you want?
AMANDA: Do you have any after school activities?
AMANDA: Are you part of any of the clubs here?
AMANDA: Really? You have no interest in writing for the Theatre Club? I hear you’re very creative with your writing.
AMANDA: Do you play any sports.
OWEN: I run.
AMANDA: Competitively? Outside of school?
OWEN: Sort of.
AMANDA: What do you mean? Where do you run?
OWEN: Away from bullies on my way home from school.
AMANDA: Oh. Do you want to share anything about yourself with me?
OWEN: Just ask your questions.
AMANDA: You really are impatient. Ok. So as a freshman, what do you think of high school life so far?
OWEN: Is that a joke?
AMANDA: What do you mean?
OWEN: You know very well what my life is like here.
AMANDA: Your life can’t consist of only bullying. I know you suffer more than most. And the thugs tormenting you are particularly good at making sure there are no witnesses. Do you want to talk about that? Tell everyone right now what you’re going through? You don’t have to say names.
OWEN: I don’t need to give names. Everyone knows who’s doing what. I am always the guy smelling like pee or wearing my underwear on my head because if I take it off they come after me after school. Even your older cousin Seb tries to get in on the action. I can see he really wants to be part of the gang.
AMANDA: How do you know he’s my cousin?
OWEN: He saw me talking to you earlier this week about this interview. He pushed me into the lockers and yelled ‘Stay away from my cousin you little fucking prick’.
AMANDA: Please don’t swear on camera. It’s really hard to time the bleeps during editing. Seb is a good guy deep down. He just doesn’t know any better. His dad is abusive towards him. He’s confused.
OWEN: Aren’t we all at this age.
AMANDA: Look. I’m supposed to be interviewing you. This is your chance. We all know the damage bullying does. Be the face in the fight to stop this in our school.
OWEN: You mean become the victim? Put myself out there like a battered kid in some domestic violence ad?
OWEN: I know you’re trying to pursue some kind of anti-bullying campaign. You have a tough fight ahead of you because even the faculty turns its cheek. They’re more concerned with claiming ignorance because of lack of proof and with projecting swift resolve by calling the police who can’t do a thing. Putting myself out there makes me a better target. I need to stay invisible. I have at least three more years here. As much as some of my fellow students would like to see me off myself, I plan on graduating from this place and that’s a long road ahead.
AMANDA: Yes. Good. Say more things like that. Make statements that people will listen to.
OWEN: You want a statement? Here’s one. This so called school is a concrete jungle that would deteriorate in a heartbeat. Imagine something even worse than Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Teachers walk around with such apathy. Their presence barely maintains control. They only keep things from fully collapsing. I pray not to be stuck in this school the day the veil is lifted between the ones with power and the ones without.
AMANDA: What do you mean by that?
OWEN: Imagine what would happen if we were forced to stay in the school and the teachers weren’t around. What kind of tyrannical hierarchy do you think would emerge?
AMANDA: That’s a pretty bleak statement.
OWEN: Here’s another then. You know apathy is a disease? I’m infected with apathy too.
AMANDA: How can you, of all students here, be apathetic?
OWEN: I don’t care what happens to people around me anymore. It’s them or me now. One time, I gave my jacket and backpack to one of the poor kids. He’s about my size. You know Andrew Bours?
OWEN: He was very appreciative until he realized those things made him look like me. My tormentors left me alone for three full days.
AMANDA: Wow. I’ve never heard a freshman talk like you.
OWEN: You see. You’re a better journalist than you think. You managed to get quite a lot out of me.
AMANDA: I’m going to use this footage you know.
OWEN: I can’t stop you from doing anything.
AMANDA: People need to hear your story and see you telling it. I bet if I post this on The Tower’s blog I can get more parents to put pressure on the faculty.
OWEN: Good luck. It’ll make no difference to me. My lot has already been chosen. I’m going to go now.
AMANDA: Ok. Thanks for contributing.
OWEN: Sure. [Noises of Owen leaving the room]
AMANDA: [Sigh] He’s so far gone.
Copyright Eric Poirier 2013