The Tard Blog

#2: Jamel kills another animal:

I was out on Monday. I get a phone call at about 10:30 Monday morning. The caller ID says it is my work calling. Great, I couldn't wait to see what the hell had happened. I decided not to answer it, that if it was important enough, a message would be left. I wait, hoping not to hear the beep that signals a new message. The phone beeps. Dammit.


This is the exact message: "Good Morning (Riti), its Juanita from school. There was a little incident here this morning, and I wanted to give you a heads-up on the situation. All the kids are fine, so don't worry...... Just give us a call when you get a chance. I hope you are feeling better."


Never before had I received a call like this. The hesitation in Juanita's voice was almost eerie.


Do I call? No. Do I drink? Yes.


The next morning I unlock my classroom door. The room was completely dark, the aquarium light was turned off. I have a tortoise named Homer in my classroom, it is the "class pet", and the aquarium light is left on at night. This is a specific instruction in my sub plans. I assumed the sub was stupid, and felt bad that Homer had to spend the night in darkness.


I flipped the lights on and walked over to the aquarium. Homer was not there. I looked around for a bit, thinking he was crawling around on the floor or something--he wasn't. I am immediately drawn into one of those "what the fuck" mind states that seem to haunt my classroom.


I walk to my desk and flip on my computer. On my desk is a stack of pictures drawn by the kids. Each picture is of Homer. In some of the pictures Homer is crying, some have hearts around Homer, the best ones have a person crying while standing next to Homer.


There could be only one reason for this: SOMEONE KILLED HOMER.


I bolt to my table and read through the substitute's notes. She started off with the usual "I hope you are feeling better" and "Today was a disaster", which then led into "Jamel dropped the tortoise, killing it." I am angry now. In the sub plans, in bold letters, it says "The kids are not to handle the tortoise."


So the notes she left describe how Jamel insisted that on Mondays they get to hold the tortoise, how all the kids held him, and how Jamel was the last one to hold him. While he was holding Homer, he peed on his hand. So Jamel dropped him on the tile floor, cracking open his shell and killing him.


Jamel insisted that Homer was taking a nap, and all his peers believed him. He then demanded Homer go back in the aquarium to nap, because I would be mad if he napped anywhere else.


The sub then summoned the principal. He came down and assured her that I was going to be very upset. The custodian then came down and disposed of the poor turtle.


I see Jamel a little later, and he requests that I get a guinea pig for the new class pet. I wanted to strangle him.






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