STAAR test survivor

Max Bowman, Writer

It was all too much for me. Was the Civil War between us and the Canadians, or the Mexicans? I don’t know. I couldn’t answer. After the incident, I’ve been having flashbacks, anxiety. It’s all consuming. I developed PTSD — Post Traumatic STAAR Disorder. People say I was fortunate to survive, but the thing is, I didn’t.

There I was, in the classroom, about to take the test. An eerie silence hung over the room without the sound of the bells to indicate the time. A day? A week? A year? I had no way of telling how much time had passed. Over the period of time that it took for the teacher to start reading directions, many had already passed the brink of sanity. One student managed to chew three pencils to the eraser out of nervousness. Another started to snort eraser shavings. I wasn’t exempt from the insanity. At the time I didn’t think it was weird, but gnawing on your desk usually isn’t a good sign of mental health.

I remember after losing my two front teeth the teacher started to read directions. It goes in and out for me… I can only recall the important details. “Students who cough, sneeze, or hiccup during the test will have deemed the testing area compromised, and all tests will be ripped up… Students who use the restroom will have 30 seconds to finish their business and be back in the classroom until the doors are locked and will not be permitted to re-enter… When filling in answers on the bubble sheet, if the answer is not completely filled in or any marks are found outside the bubble, the scantron will reject the sheet and your answers will be deemed invalid.”

I had just finished the fourth question when we lost the first one. It’s always the jocks who go first. Physical fortitude in spades, but no amount of relays and tackles can prepare the mind for the mental onslaught that is STAAR. The jock broke through the window in an attempt to make a run for it. Needless to say he forgot we were on the second floor. His lifeless body splattered on the pavement like a poorly filled in bubble on a scantron. I didn’t make it to the funeral as I was in a coma at the time. STAAR’s next victim is usually the brainiacs, the people who are sleep deprived from the amount of studying and cramming for the dreaded STAAR. They start with some light sweating, which are usually common side effects of the SAT that they have survived before. Then things take a turn for the worst, their eyes start twitching back in forth in frantic fright. The pimples on their forehead begin to pop as their face starts to contort in previously unknown ways. Soon they are grasping their chest as though something is about to burst… then…. Silence. The nerd’s lifeless head made a dull thud as it hit the desk. Heart attack, killed in seconds. While the jocks are always destroyed mentally, the poor frail body of a nerd just can’t survive the stress.  

The STAAR prepares for these types of incidents. Though I suppose since these happen every test, how could you not? The cleaners wear giant, bright yellow star outfits that have the form of a mascot. The uniforms make it hard for them to get through doors as their pointy ends usually tend to get stuck. It’s been said the star outfits are to make students less tense and cheer up during testing, which might have work had they not been caked in blood and dragging the corpses of what use to be our classmates. For me, it was the giant faces plastered on the front that always freaked me out.

50 questions bubbled in. I finally made it. I looked around the classroom and saw that most of my class had already finished. The alive ones anyway. Over the course of the test our class count had dropped from 30 to 18. A number that would continue dropping. One by one over the next couple of minutes more and more students finished. This kept continuing until only one last student was testing. He didn’t notice it, but every eye in that room was focusing on him. Everyone desperately wanted to get out of that room, how badly we soon found out. One student next to him looked at his scantron to see how many questions he had left. When he finally managed to get a good glimpse white anger flashed across his eyes.


The tension in the air, so previously debilitating, shifted in only a second to something much more feral. Students began to leap from the desks and jump over their chairs. Everyone was howling and shrieking no intelligible language could be heard. Everyone piled up on the poor kid with only bloodlust in mind The only sound that stuck out was the screaming of the student who had not finished, and then, the sound of flesh and bone being torn asunder. I wanted to get out as bad as anybody but I wasn’t willing to kill a kid to do it. I ran over to the teacher to get help. I jerked her shoulders back and forth to no response. Then it dawned on me when I looked at her eyes. She had died from boredom. It was that moment that it became all too much for me, and I collapsed hitting my head on the desk on the way down.

That bump on the head lead to me being in a coma for over a year. I thought it would all be worth it once I get my STAAR results, but it turns out that one of the seals had a tiny rip it in and all the tests were deemed compromised. I will prepare to this day until I have to retake the STAAR. But this time I’ll be ready.