This past year I’ve been teaching Health Education at Beckley’s middle school and learned that the students’ hormones have already begun to control their actions and reactions.
A couple of weeks ago, I walked into my classroom and noticed that someone had written the word “Willy” in tiny letters on the blackboard. Scanning the class, looking for a guilty face and finding none, I erased the word and began the session.
The following day, Willy was written again, this time about halfway across the board. Looking around in vain for the culprit, finding just smiling faces, I proceeded with the day’s lesson.
Every morning for about a week, I arrived and found the same euphemism written on the blackboard. Each succeeding day’s inscription was larger than the previous one, and the daily Willy was ultimately rubbed off vigorously.
Last Monday, I walked in expecting to be greeted by a Willy and found it along with the words, “The more you play with it, the bigger it gets.” The class roared. I honestly didn’t know how to handle the situation.
Mr Pinkley, the principal, strolled in to see what the commotion was about and looked at the blackboard. “My Lord, what are you teaching these innocent children?” he cried out. “I want you to grab your belongings, leave this classroom immediately and report to the board of education’s meeting tomorrow night when we will discuss this matter further!”
“But Mr. Pinkley, let me explain.”
“Miss van Ouven, you can do your explaining before the board tomorrow night. Now pick up your things and vacate the premises.”
Flabbergasted, I scurried home and cried myself to sleep. The next morning, after my calling an attorney, he arranged to meet with me that afternoon before the school-board meeting. I told him what had been happening. He assured me I had nothing to worry about, saying he’d accompany me there.
When we arrived at the auditorium, I noticed all the kids from my first-period class were present, except for Johnny Hatfield.
Anyway, when it was time for me to speak before the board about the previous day’s events, the children began to chant, “She didn’t do it. It was Johnny Hatfield who wrote that on the blackboard.”
Imagine that. They showed up for my defense. I was shocked and humbled at the same time. Johnny Hatfield burst suddenly into the meeting. “Don’t blame Miss Kristen. I was the one who wrote those words on the blackboard. It was a joke. I didn’t mean no harm!” As an aside, I wanted to lecture him about double negatives.
Johnny was reprimanded. I pleaded with the board not to suspend him. They sentenced him to detention instead for the next month.
“Just one thing I would like to show you,” Johnny said, having brought a DVD with him, giving it to the speaker of the board. “I found this disc open on Mr. Pinkley’s laptop when I ran into his office this morning,” he added. “I wanted to explain about writing on the blackboard, trying to save Miss Kristen from getting fired. He must have just stepped out of his office, forgetting to shut the screen down.”
The speaker placed the DVD into his laptop and brought up what appeared to be hidden-camera images of the girls’ locker room, with shots of young students in various states of undress.
“Arrest him,” the school-board members shouted in unison to the chief of the Beckley police, who happened to be present. Mr. Pinkley was hauled off and is now awaiting trial.
Needless to say I was relieved. I gave Johnny Hatfield a big hug and thanked him. It was quite a feeling, realizing that my students really do care for me.
Happy spring, by the way. It’s been a while since I visited and posted anything. Hopefully this little essay finds you happy and well.