by Julien Gregg
Edited by Bruce
© Copyright 2005 Julien
All rights reserved.
No part of this story may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission from the author. This story is almost all fiction. Almost all of the characters depicted in this story exist exclusively in the imagination of the author. Any resemblance to an actual person, living or dead, is, sometimes purely coincidental. For a list of my other stories, original and fan fiction, please visit my personal website.
The School Board
"So what you're telling us is that you don't believe that the threat is big enough to justify tighter security at the school?" I asked, getting angry. Anger wasn't my strong point, but I couldn't help myself. Mr. Daniel Jeffries, Storyville's School Superintendent had said that it was his opinion that the security at the school provided on Monday morning was adequate for the level of the threat to the handful of students.
"Mr. Porter," he said, looking at me as if I were a disgusting bug. "I believe that I said that the threat was minimal as long as the security that we have already implemented stays in place."
"But there are no cameras in the locker bays or security guards patrolling the school," said Meg, standing up. "If my son is going to gain his education at Storyville High School, then he should be safe in the school. I don't believe that the security that the board has implemented is even close to adequate to ensure my son's safety."
A group of other parents verbally agreed with her. They each had something to say, but they said it all at once. The effect was exactly what I was afraid of. Chaos. Everyone was talking, and because no one could really hear what anyone was saying, voices rose. It wasn't long before yelling started. The school board meeting was going to Hell.
Real order was never restored, and in effect the meeting was a total loss as far as the GSA was concerned. At the end of the meeting, to the chagrin of angry parents, Mr. Jeffries announced that security at Storyville High School was fine the way it was and would continue unchanged. That meant that phase two of the GSA plan would have to go into effect.
The other eighteen members of the GSA all milled around the parking lot of the school with me and Steve. They wanted to know what was next, and I told them to call as many of the other members in the morning as they could. It was time for the students of Storyville High to take this into their own hands.
Over the weekend, Wendy, Ben, Tim, Mark, Peter, Nick and Jeremy helped me and Steve make posters and signs for the strike. Everyone in the GSA had been called, and I was surprised to learn that their parents were in support of the strike. When school resumed on Monday morning, the board would be unhappy to learn that more than half of the student body wouldn't be inside the school. They'd be outside around the edges of the property with picket signs.
"Are we sure this is what we want to do?" Steve asked when we were going to bed that Saturday night. "I mean, we've already missed a week of school."
"Steve, it isn't what we want to do, its what we have to do," I replied. "Do you want to go back to school and wait for the next bomb to go off?"
"Do we really expect another bombing?"
"Well it may not be a bombing, but something will happen if they don't tighten security," I said, climbing into bed next to him. "We have to do this to show the board that we aren't leaving the school, but we won't attend as long as we aren't safe."
"Just as long as we don't get expelled for it," yawned Steve. "That wouldn't be good in our senior year."
"They can't expel anyone for this," I assured him. "Parents would sue the board so fast if they did that."
We were quiet after that. We snuggled close and tried to go to sleep. Steve didn't seem to have a problem finding sleep, but I was a little more worried than I'd let on about expulsion. I didn't think they could expel us for a strike if more than half the student body was out there with us, but I wasn't sure about it. Steve was right about it not being a good thing to get expelled at the beginning of our last year of high school. Needless to say, I slept fitfully that night.
The next day, we finished all of the signs and posters and talked about where we would all park our cars. We couldn't park them in the parking lot of the school because of the strike. In the end, we decided that all of us would ride the city bus to school in the morning. That way there were no cars for us to worry about.
Later that day we met up with almost all of the GSA again in the college gym once again. We coordinated our plans for morning, and everyone agreed that public transportation was the way. Several of the members said that their parents were driving them, and they planned to stand on the picket line with us. That made me feel a little better about the expulsion worry.
I'd thought I would be too wound up to sleep that night, but I was wrong. Steve and I fell right to sleep after talking a bit and a lot of heavy kissing and petting. We snuggled close and slept until the alarm woke us the next morning. We showered and ate breakfast in silence that morning. I was thinking about the strike and what would happen when the teachers arrived to find us all there so early. We'd agreed to arrive at the school two hours before first period was set to begin at seven. I was shocked when Meg arrived with Phillip at four-thirty.
"I'm driving you boys to school today," she said as they came in the side door. "I'll be standing out there with you all day, too. No way am I passing up a chance to help out when the school board acts like a bunch of men from the thirties."
"Thanks, Meg," I said, getting up to hug her. She was reminding me more and more of my mother every day.
Nick and Jeremy rode to the school with us, and I was pleasantly surprised to see more than one hundred students, parents and what looked like a few teachers already milling about on the sidewalk in front of the school. We each had our picket signs ready, and I noticed that the posters had already been taped to the windows at the front entrance. The strike was under way.
We stood in a row on the sidewalk in front of the school parking lot and held up our signs. Groups of lawn chairs were set up in various spots on the grass to give us places to take little breaks throughout the day. At the moment, however, every picketer was on their feet with their sign held high.
By the time cars and students began to arrive, my feet were aching, and my arm felt like it would fall off. It wasn't time for a break, though. We all started chanting, "Security For Storyville High Now!'
Mitch arrived about the same time the buses filled with students began to arrive. He smiled at me before making his way across the picket line and into the parking lot. I noticed that he didn't drive into the parking lot, and I wondered why. A few minutes later I got my answer. Mitch came back to the picket line with a sign of his own.
"I believe in security, too, Tommy," he said when I looked at him funny.
Cars drove by the school and slowed to look at all of us, but no one stopped. I looked back and saw that there weren't many students getting off of the buses. Those that were stood to look at all of us at the front of the parking lot before teachers came outside to usher them inside the school. I was watching that when Steve stepped up beside me.
"The media has arrived," he said, diverting my attention to the four news vans that were pulling into the school parking lot.
They pulled in and parked, and then reporters were getting out of each van while cameramen sorted through the side doors of their vans for their equipment. As I watched all of this, a female reporter with long dark red hair came toward us. She was dressed in a charcoal skirt and jacket with a white blouse. She came right over to us.
"Hello boys," she said, smiling. "My name is Jennifer Conway, and I'm a reporter for channel 9. Mind if I ask you a few questions on camera?"
We looked at each other, and I thought about it for a second. I hadn't planned on the media showing up, but having the strike make it to the local news was actually a good thing. It meant that everyone in the city would soon learn what was going on at Storyville High School.
"Sure," I said, ignoring the look that Steve gave me.
"Great," she said, smiling harder as her cameraman stepped up behind her with his camera on his shoulder. "Let me start by asking you what exactly is going on here?"
"Well after our lockers were bombed, the school board made minimal effort to ensure our safety at school," I replied, making sure the camera picked up my sign.
"We went to the board meeting, but Mr. Daniel Jeffries said that he believed that security at the school was enough for such a minimal threat," said Steve, making me proud of him.
"Mr. Jeffries said that your lockers being bombed was a minimal threat?" she asked, looking shocked.
"He didn't say that, exactly," I replied. "He just said that security was adequate."
"What type of security measures were in place?" she asked.
"There were police officers at a few of the entrances to the school, checking bags as students entered the school," I replied.
"That wasn't good enough?" she asked.
"Not nearly," said Steve. "All it really did was slow down the students getting into the building. Metal detectors would be much better, but they should be placed at every entrance to the school and not just a hand full."
"We also asked for security cameras in the locker bays and security officers to patrol the halls," I added.
"Thank you, boys," she said. "You were both great."
She made her way down the line of protestors as another reporter found us. We gave basically the same interview to the each reporter that came to us, and by the time they all settled back to their vans, Mr. Jeffries was arriving at the school. It didn't take a genius to see that he was furious. He was surrounded by the reporters instantly. I don't know exactly what he said to them, because they were standing too far away. However, when he got away from them, he got right back in his car and drove away from the school.
The reporters stayed until the last bell sounded to let the students out of classes. They tried to get interviews with the students as they left the building, and they even stopped a few teachers. As the students climbed on buses, we packed up our signs, lawn chairs and other supplies and headed back to our cars to leave.
We were at home, eating dinner when Mitch called. Vince answered the telephone, and he talked to Mitch for a few minutes before coming back into the dining room to get me. I didn't know what Mitch wanted as I went to the phone, but Vince was smiling at me like a lunatic.
"Tommy," said Mitch when I picked up the phone. "The strike worked! Mr. Jeffries called to tell me that school will be cancelled until Wednesday so that they can get metal detectors set up. He's also hired security guards, and they're installing cameras in the locker bays right now."
"So we got what we wanted?" I asked, smiling.
"We sure did," he laughed. "See you Wednesday morning."
The story will continue soon . . . .