Dad, Mom, Bek, and Rachel 2008GUEST BLOGGER: RACHEL OLSON

Rachel is a philosopher, a procrastinator, a roof sitter, and a rising star. At 16, she is the Apron Stage’s youngest guest poster. We invited her to post a companion piece to Rebecca’s; accordingly, Rachel provides one student’s experience with the gritty reality of crime and punishment in the New York public school system.  Read more of Rachel here.

Yes. It’s true. I got it.

I, Rachel Elizabeth, was late to first period six times over the past three quarters (more than that, but Sra. Tuohy is understanding). A single slip handed to my sixth period Euro AP teacher and my fate was sealed.

The injustice rankles. I mean, seriously. Of all the days of all the periods of school when I could have been late since September, I’ve only been late six times! Six! What is this world coming to?

Room 112. 04/03. 3:00-3:30. Come late and you’re not allowed inside. I imagined bars over the windows. Was it okay for me to take out my school work? Twenty minutes of free time sounded nice, but no one else was working. Would the scary teacher in the front with the NY Yankees t-shirt and the cemented sneakers glare at my unsuspecting head top until I looked up and realized even homework was discouraged in this place?

Desks filled up with students who had committed worse crimes than I, I was sure. I wanted to explain to the man up front, the man many of the others knew so well, that I wasn’t here because I was disrespectful, or forgetful, or angry. I wasn’t a regular customer. I, like he, was an outsider. “Sir, I am here because I didn’t know you could bring in notes explaining about religion classes in the morning and rushing to South after dropping off seminary students at three different high schools, starting at 7:00, by 7:50. THREE. Also, I don’t listen to my mother like I should. You see? I am a victim here.”

Do you, scowling teacher, get paid extra for this kind of work? The public exposing of people who need help and not humiliation? Detention. On your permanent. Record. How do you feel now, huh? P.S. Detention was fine. He let us out ten minutes early. The people in detention weren’t scary. If we could have talked, I’m sure we’d have gotten to know each other better.

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