Thursday, May 31, 2007

The Grand Hall

I'm ever-vigilantly standing in my hall patrol, in front of the department office, and a kid approaches me. As a hall patrol, I wear many hats (Actually I don't wear any, as the school dress code explicitly prohibits them). But as usual, there's no one in the office, and I'm the only adult around.

Since I'm wearing a tie, the young man figures I must be in charge.

"Ms. Laconic kicked me out."


"She crazy! She just kick me out for no reason!"

"Okay. Teachers do that all the time. But they always say some reason, even if it doesn't make any sense. So why did Ms. Laconic say she kicked you out?"

The kid understands. He smiles. "She say it's because I'm late."

"Well, were you late?"

"Yeah I was late, but she don't have to go kicking me out!"

"Was it the first time you were late?"


"How often are you late?"

"Hey, you know I can't be making it to her class on time. It's too early, yo."

I know how it is. It's tough to get anywhere by 10:30 in the AM.

"Why are you late so often?"

"I have to work, yo."

Now we're getting somewhere. All too often employers abuse kids, make them work all sorts of hours, don't give a damn that they have to go to school. I'd better check that out.

"When do you work, exactly?"

"Three to six on Saturdays, in my uncle's store."

"So you're late every day to Ms. Laconic's class because you have to work three hours on Saturday? You're still tired from that on Wednesday?"

"I have to play soccer, too."


"3-5 after school."

"That should give you plenty of time to make it to Ms. Laconic's class. You could even do homework..."

"Yo, I have to unwind. I have to go out after with my peeps, yo."

"How long does that take?"

"I might get home about midnight."

"You could still get to Ms. Laconic's class on time."

"That's wack." Now he's mad. "I got things to do."

At this point, a supervisor entered the office. I left her to work out a solution to this perplexing dilemma. After all, as a lowly teacher, I'm not qualified to judge all the fine points of situations like this.

And there are halls to patrol.
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