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.

What would you do?

Pam Ripling is the author of middle-grade mystery, LOCKER SHOCK! Buy it at Quake, Fictionwise or Amazon today! E-book version now available for your Kindle! Visit Pam at


Mary Cunningham said...

As an adult, I'd turn them in asap! As a teenager, hard to tell. Seems like the answer should be easy, but to get into the head of a 16-year-old...well, it's just not that black and white.

Great, though-provoking post!

Norm Cowie said...

Lessee, I'd rip off my shoes, stick them in their faces ... and while they're in olfactory shock, I'd get the cops.

Gayle Carline said...

I agree with Mary, what I'd do as an adult is not necessarily what I'd do as a middle school student. My son, 16, had a similar, if not as dire, experience recently. He was on his way home and he witnessed a fight on campus. He told me his instinct was to try to break it up, but there were a number of kids involved, so he just stood and watched and wondered what to do. It was good that we got to talk about it. I pointed out that breaking up a fight might result in injury to himself. He agreed and decided that finding an adult would have been a better option.

Gayle Carline (aka GeeCarl)

Pam Ripling said...


So you're the one who wanted to share my stew! And Placentia to Valencia could be a straight shot! We'll have to meet one day.

Although she posted it as a post rather than a comment, I also liked (was it Marlis?)'s comment that she might drop an anonymous note on the principal's desk.

Would somebody please get the Dr. Scholl's powder for Norm?