We’ve all heard the tragedy of my daughter’s class not getting to finish Romeo and Juliet. They’re forever stuck in Act 3, with Juliet just having discovered that Romeo is banished. Never was a story of more woe, than that of my daughter and her eighth grade English class.
My daughter even read that post and told me over dinner, “It’s going to be ok, Daddy. But at graduation if you see my teacher you are *not* to go near him.”
So yesterday she comes home from school and says, “Well, I’m up to Act 5 Scene 4!”
“How’d that happen? You reading it on your own now? When did you find time to read that much?”
And then I get the rest of the story.
Seems that the school had a lockdown drill today. I’m not sure the protocol precisely, but it involves the entire class being huddled into a small space like sardines. I know this because apparently a handful of girls could not stop giggling over it, and a handful of teenage boys saw it as a golden opportunity to grab some teenage girl bottom.
And their teacher lost his mind. Unable to express to them the seriousness of the situation, once the drill was over and they were back in their seats, he apparently raged beyond anything that they had seen before (he’s a yeller anyway), throwing out insults and curse words with reckless abandon. Just like you see in the tv shows, they were assigned a mandatory essay, due Friday, on the history of school shooting – anybody that doesn’t complete it does not get to participate in the end of year class activities, including a harbor cruise.
He then cancelled whatever fun activity they had scheduled for the remainder of the day and told them to sit quietly in their seats and read. What did they read? You guessed it – Romeo and Juliet.
I could do little but roll my eyes at that. So is it a punishment at that point? Or was taking it away in the first place the punishment? My daughter was all, “Fine, I wanted to read it anyway!”
In the teacher’s defense, I think he was right to be upset and expect that Romeo and Juliet was merely the closest book and held no special significance. I talked to my daughter about that this morning. “Somewhere in your lifetime,” I told her, “His job description went from hey try to keep these kids interested long enough to teach them Romeo and Juliet, to Hey you might be called upon to die today to protect these children, and never make it home to see your own.” So for those children to not respect the gravity of what is a very real situation, when he himself has to imagine his own potential death, yeah, I can see why he was pissed off. (For the record my daughter claims to be innocent of any wrongdoing, and that a specific handful of girls started it – but unfortunately it only takes one to make enough noise for the gunman to find all of you, my darling.)
I may not be happy with the way the Shakespeare situation turned out, but I’m definitely on his side here.