Jack begins his narration in August, when his mom gets a call from Mr. Tushman. Mr. Tushman asks Jack's mom if Jack would be willing to come in before school starts to show around a nice kid who has something wrong with his face. Jack is suspicious of why Mr. Tushman wants him to do it and doesn't want to. His mom promises that she won't force him, but she reprimands him when he calls the new kid deformed. Jack tells the reader he knew immediately that the new kid was August.
Jack's unwillingness to participate shows that being kind isn't always an easy or simple decision. Jack is certainly aware that associating with August will hurt his reputation, though it's telling that at this point he's willing to take his mom's scolding rather than help August. This gives Jack a starting point from which to mature.