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Wednesday, March 04, 2009
What Would You Do?
by Pam Ripling
You are a middle school student. Your worst problem this week is writing a persuasive essay (like what’s that?) about why kids should be allowed to wear sandals, open-toed shoes or flip-flops to school. You’re deep into the facts—like how sweaty the football guy who sits next to you in math gets and his feet really stink because he doesn’t wear socks. Now, if he could wear flips on a hot day, maybe he wouldn’t smell so bad?
But then you overhear something you don’t want to know. A kid standing at the locker two doors away from yours is sorta talking low to his friend. Both of them are looking at the ground, and nobody else seems to notice them. You do, though, because of the words you can just barely hear. Words like “gun” and “tomorrow” and “blow them away.”
Suddenly, football guy’s smelly feet seem like no big deal, nor does the essay. Your face feels cold and damp at the same time, and you really want to look at the two guys but you are afraid to look because you think you might have recognized the voice. That voice sounded like one of your best friends.
Last month, nearly 900 middle and high school students in San Francisco, California, admitted to bringing a gun to school last year. Of the 21,000 students surveyed, more than half said they felt teachers and staff didn’t keep them safe from bullying, harassment and physical violence.
In the novel LOCKER SHOCK!, the main character discovers a gun at his middle school, and he fears one of his best friends brought it there. He is torn between turning in the gun, which would mean exposing his suspicions, or hiding the weapon and hoping the whole mess just goes away.