Thursday, February 05, 2015
He mentioned this in one of his classes and one of his students approached him after class. He quietly and calmly told Mr. Cleveland he knew a little bit about the things that went on in that neighborhood, and he would put the word out. Mr Cleveland said that wasn't necessary, and began to regret having opened his mouth at all.
But the next day his new car showed up outside the school. The only thing was, it wasn't quite new anymore. Well, part of it was, but it looked like a whole lot of parts had been taken off, and that the replacement parts were not precisely off the showroom floor. The student approached Mr. Cleveland, and Mr. Cleveland thanked him for his efforts, but also told him that actually, he'd have done better if the car had disappeared. His insurance would have pretty much gotten him a replacement.
The student asked Mr. Cleveland if he wanted the situation fixed. Mr. Cleveland said no, don't do anything. I don't want you getting in trouble or breaking the law or doing anything at all. The kid told Mr. Cleveland not to worry. Then he said, "You got a ride here with Miss Block, didn't you?" Mr. Cleveland again told the kid not to do anything. The kid said, "This is a dangerous neighborhood."
Later that day, Mr. Cleveland's half-new car caught on fire, right there in front of the school. It was really something to see, and kids all got up out of their seats and flocked to the windows, sticking their heads out to watch. It was better than a snowstorm. Hapless teachers all over the building tried to get them to sit down again, only after they themselves got a good look, and with little success. Charlotte Danielson would have had a conniption right there and then.
Come June, the kid failed Mr. Cleveland's class. But he told Mr. Cleveland, "You were fair. I cut a lot and I know I deserve to fail." They parted as friends, even though the kid was a graduating senior.
And there's a happy ending. Mr. Cleveland taught summer school, after which the kid not only passed, but also graduated.