The Life of Bon: So sorry, Mr. President

Thursday, September 29, 2011

So sorry, Mr. President

My junior classes have been reading the book Tuesdays with Morrie, a story of a man who finds out he is dying.  Before we started the book I had the students get together in groups and write on a poster everything they would do if they knew they were going to die in the next six months.  Some students were serious about the assignment (spend time with friends and family, say sorry to anyone I may have offended, etc.) while others were not-so-serious (steal a car and drive all across America picking up hitch-hikers, act in a movie with Leonardo Dicaprio, eat an In-n-out hamburger every day for lunch).  The posters looked good enough, I skimmed over them and said to my student aide, "Aide!  Tape these posters in the hall so everyone can see how hard we've been a-working in here!" 

And that was that.

Yesterday I was sitting at my desk in between classes.  You know, just dinking around, surfing the net while the little ruffians wandered their way into my classroom.  "Teacher, may I have a word with you in the hallway?"  The sterness of the voice made me jump.  It was the Vice Principal of the school.  In my classroom.  Watching me scroll around on Etsy.

I obediently followed VP out into the hallway.  I could quickly tell that the situation was one of utmost gravity.
"Teacher.  I have to talk to you about something quite serious."
"We can not have anybody making any death threats to the president at this school.  It is strictly prohibited."
"Ok..."  I thought quickly to the last time time I threatened to kill Obama.  Nothing came to mind.
"I hope you understand."
"Um... yah, actually... I don't.  I have never threatened Obama.  In fact, I couldn't possibly care less about the guy."
"The school received a report of a death threat.  On these posters in the hallway, the students have indicated that they are planning to kill the president."  VP directed my eyes to a comment written on one of the giant posters hanging in the hall.

It read: "If I found out I was going to die from a terminal disease, I'd shoot the president."
I turned red immediately.  Kids these days.  They'll write anything if you let them. 

"Oh, wow.  I'm sorry.  I didn't notice that."
"It's okay.  Just take it down.  You were reported this morning, so I had to come down myself to investigate, and I found the claims against you to be true."
Whoa whoa whoa.  Now this was starting to sound like some kind of a criminal case.  I was reported?  What does that even mean?  Somebody really thought that I've been down here in this corner of the school, plotting with my students to kill Mr. Prez?
"I'm sorry VP."
"It's okay, Teacher.  You just need to be aware that those threats are inappropriate, and the posters need to be taken down immediately.  This kind of behavior should not be encouraged."  Which surprised me, because I always had thought it was okay to encourage assassination.
"Okay no problem.  I'll take them down right now."
VP started walking away and I stared at the posters in bewliderment, trying to figure out what students had written that, how it had gotten past me, and what teacher cared enough to read the poster and then "report" me.
"Oh and Teacher?"  VP turned around.
"You'll also need to take the poster down with the threat to Justin Beiber."
"Justin Beiber?"
"Yes.  It is not okay for your students to write they are going to slap him across the face."

And with that, VP was gone, marching down the hallways to maintain the perfect order that exists within these four walls.

Once he was out of sight, I studied the posters carefully.  Upon further examination I discovered I had actually been let off easy.  In reality there were three threats to the president, (don't ask me why they all suddenly want to kill the poor man.  You know how it is with16 year olds- one person says something and the whole lot of them jump on the bandwagon.) two threats to Justin Beiber, and one disillsioned student wrote that he planned to "knock up Selena Gomez" before he kicked the bucket.

Welp, looks like I'll be reading my students' work a little more closely from here on out.  Those kids, they'll pull a fast one on you if you're not careful.