"Okay class, we're going on a field trip." Their social studies teacher says in her peppy voice that has most of the class calling her Cheerleader Barbie behind her back. The other teachers know this, but since she annoys *them* almost as much as she annoys the students, nobody has ever gotten into real trouble over it.
"I've arranged for the class to go to New York for the next week, we're going to be visiting the Museum of Natural History, most of you will be more familiar with it from Night at the Museum," she sniffs. "the United Nations, The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and finally taking in a broadway show."
"Ma'am, will we be staying in New York the entire week?" Josette asks. She knows she's not the only one in the classroom who has a work-study position.
"No Miss Takahawa, we will not. We will be commuting to New York and back every day, leaving the school early in the morning and coming back late at night, I know most of you could not afford to stay in a New York hotel room for the entire week." And damn if she doesn't make it sound like an insult.
"What about our other classes and those students who have jobs?"
"Ohhh, I hadn't thought of *that*. Jobs? No student works at the school."
Josette snorts. "I've been working at the school for two semesters, students work in the library, the dining hall and kitchen, the administration building, and delivering the mail as well as the laundry."
"We'll see about *that*, I don't like liars Ms. Takahawa."
"Go fuck yourself you dumb hag." Josette mutters as she walks off with a huff.
The teacher returns fifteen minutes later. Josette just gives her a look. "Miss Takahawa is right, some of you *do* work at the school." She whines. "You're going to have to quit your jobs."
"Fuck you bitch." Josette snaps. "My job is my future. I don't have any family to pay my schooling. It's only twenty hours a week but that's money that won't have to come out of my pocket when I graduate and have to start paying off my scholarship loan."
She scurries off again.
"No, I'm not going to make them quit their jobs *or* have Josette beg your forgiveness." Principal Madison snorts. "You had no damn business telling them they'd have to quit their jobs because you don't like it. And I sure as hell don't like the fact that *you* hired two busses without my permission. Or even telling the other teachers so they could make different arrangements for their classes."
"But my class." She bleats. "I *need* to take them to New York."
"No, you are not talking about any of those places in your classes, there was no reason for you to take them to New York. You *want* to go to New York. *You* will be repaying me every dime I spent for the two busses *and* apologizing to the other teachers for all the work they're going to have to do to reschedule their classes for the week the students are missing."
"Please tell me there's food in the back of the bus?" A student asks the following Monday morning.
"What, why didn't any of you eat before we left?" The teacher whines.
"Umm, it's four in the morning? The dining hall wasn't open?"
"But how do you have breakfast on the senior trips?"
"The dining halls make breakfast sandwiches ahead of time, freezing them until a couple days before the seniors leave and putting them in the back of the bus that morning." One of the students who works in the administration building says.
Josette sighs as the teacher blinks at her.
"Dinner?" She whimpers.
"Yeah, dinner? We're not going to be back at school in time to eat and we left before breakfast."
"But we'll be back by . . .Nine?"
"The dining hall closes at eight."
"Won't they hold it open for you?" she whines.
"No, the kitchen workers will want to go home. They're already shorthanded with most of their workers gone this week."
The teacher whines deep in her throat and huffs off.
"What a dumb bitch." A day student sighs as he walks past. "And those students who *don't* board have to find ways to get home when we get back to the school."
"But what do you *mean* they won't hold the dining hall open for them?" she whines into the telephone.
"Because as Josette told you, they're shorthanded and want to go *home*." Principal Madison says dryly. "As well as lunch you're going to have to provide dinner."
"Lunch?" she whimpers.
"Yes. . .lunch. You cannot expect them to go without food this week."
"I . . .I never thought about that."
"Are you standing there and telling me you did not make arrangements for the places you visited to have cafeterias where *my* students could eat lunch?" Principal Madison asks icily. She whimpers and hangs up.
"Why aren't you inside?" She screeches seeing the students waiting for her.
"Because we don't have tickets?" The 'duh' is clearly understood. "You never handed them out."
"*I've* got to pay for your admission?" She whines.
"Yes, this is a school trip, that's *why* Principal Madison gave you the school credit card." the girl who works in the office snorts.
"I thought the students would buy their own tickets. Don't they do it on their senior trip?"
"No, they have the whole year to purchase the tickets and put together folders for the students. They don't suddenly announce it the week before and expect everything to magically appear."
She whines as she pays for the tickets on the school credit card. She knows she's going to have to pay for all this.
"God, what a mess." Josette moans as she waves the students into the girls dorm, Professor Druid checking off names.
"Did she ever feed you lunch?"
"Yes, she finally realized we had to eat. She took us to an all you could eat buffet a couple blocks away. We ate dinner around seven or so? That's why we were late getting back. She had to wait until there was a place with enough room for us. She was *stunned* when a group of nearly a hundred teenagers couldn't just walk into a restaurant and be immediately seated."
"Dumb dora was stunned when she realized she had to pay for our meals, that's why she had the school credit card." Anna snorts. "Did everybody find something to work on?"
"Yeah, we should be able to bullshit a paper for each place." Josette snorts. "I think she just gave them to so she can say 'see, I *told* you this was educational'."
"I should be telling you off for talking like that, but personally I agree with you. Did she talk about anything?"
"Hell, she wasn't even there with us." Abby snorts. "It was about two when she showed up and told us to follow her. She *whined* when she found us waiting on her for the tickets, we should have brought our own."
"What the hell did she think was going to happen, she'd have a free trip to New York?" Professor Druid complains. She'll be talking to the other students to make sure this just wasn't Josette and the others bitching before she brings the complaints to James.
"Young Lady, there's no records of a school with that name in New York." A man sneers. "Do you want to try another story?"
"I believe I said we were from outside Boston. Last time I checked, that was in *Massachusetts*." Josette rolls her eyes. He walks off in a huff as the patrolmen in earshot snigger. "Asshat." one of them says quietly. "The number is . . ." Josette rattles it off. Mac walks into his office to make the call.
"Hanford Institute for Exceptional Children, Joyce speaking. How may I direct your call?"
"Yes, this is Mac Taylor. I'm head of the felony crime lab in Manhattan."
"Oh god, the kids?"
"You *do* have students in New York then?"
"James, get on line one. A call from New York about the kids." The female voice says. Almost instantly a male voice joins them.
"You do have students in New York then?"
"Lt. Mac Taylor, New York Crime Lab."
"Crime lab? Oh god are the kids okay?"
"Yes, we received a call of a group of teenagers loitering at a restaurant, expecting gang kids we were surprised to find your students. They claim they were waiting for their teacher before dinner? He or she wasn't with them?"
"I'm not surprised, some of the students were complaining that she had left them alone for several hours Monday and Tuesday." James sighs. "Are the kids okay?"
"Yes, they are at our lab. But we've been unable to locate your teacher, there haven't been any calls about missing students."
"I'm not surprised, she seems to consider the students an inconvenience rather than the reason she's *in* New York. Have you tried the busses?"
"Yes, they are empty. . .do you have any idea where the drivers are?"
"No I don't, my teacher hired the coaches without my permission." Professor Druid rushes into his office. "Listen, my second in command will be on her way to the school as soon as we can get a plane ticket." Joyce comes in a few minutes later with the flight information he passes along to Lt. Taylor. Who promises a police officer will be waiting for her.
"How do you plan on getting the students home?"
"As soon as I get off the phone with you I'm going to be yelling at the company that furnished the busses and drivers, hopefully they'll be waiting to bring the students home by the time Katrina arrives."
"Mr. . ."
"Oh hell, I never even introduced myself. . . James Madison, Principal of Hanford Institute for Exceptional Children."
"You were concerned for your students, as anybody would be. Do you have a description of your missing teacher?"
"Yes, she's about five five, maybe one hundred and forty-five pounds, though she *claims* it's only one twenty. Blonde hair though she's got dark roots, blue eyes. . ." Joyce holds up a picture she's printed out. Principal Madison nods. "If you have a fax number we can send you a picture of her."
Mac gives the fax number and a few minutes later a picture appears. He nods in satisfaction as he continues making up the bolo for her.
"Get hold of the school?" Stella asks when he comes out of his office.
"Yes, Principal Madison was quite upset to find out his students had been left by their teacher. I have a picture of her for the bolo.
"Huh, she doesn't look like a bitch or an airhead." Stella snorts as she looks at the picture. "Maybe we'd better send this around the morgues and hospitals first."
"Do that, I'd rather she's laying in a hospital somewhere as a Jane Doe rather than having abandoned her students. Now. . ." He nods in satisfaction as patrolmen come up pushing carts of food.
Mac Taylor comes out of his office when a uniformed officer comes up with a female visitor.
"Lt. Taylor, this is Katrina Druid from the Hanford Institute, she's here to take control of your visitors."
"Thank you for looking after our students Lt. Taylor."
"Have you heard anything from your teacher Ms. Druid?"
"No, and her phone is off. I tried calling when I got off the plane."
"Have you heard from the bus drivers?"
"Not since I got on the plane. May I?" Mac nods and she dials the phone. "James, I'm at the precinct. Have you heard anything from the bus drivers or our missing teacher?"
"The drivers haven't tried checking in with the office to find out what happened to their passengers. I let the office know how disgusted I was with their unprofessional actions. They've magnaminously agreed not to bill us for the last two days of the contract we're cancelling and will pick up the busses at the school. . .but they don't have extra drivers to bring them from New York to the school."
"How are we supposed to get the busses to the school?"
"I believe I can help with that Ms. Druid." Mac says. "The news that your students had been abandoned in New York has been all over the news. A local bus company has offered to drive them back. . . Sheldon?"
"Yeah Mac?" Sheldon says, coming out of his lab.
"Call your friend that owns the bus company, the drivers never showed up. The bus company will pick up the busses. . .at their school. They don't have extra drivers to come get them."
Sheldon snorts. "Sounds like a lot of the fly by night operators out there. They probably used independent drivers for the trip instead of hiring full-time drivers." he walks to a phone and hits a number for an outside line, then dials a number. "Barry, it's Sheldon Hawkes. . .Yep, you guessed it. The drivers never showed up or contacted the office to ask where their passengers are. The company will pick up the busses . . .at the school."
In his bedroom Barry Anders snorts. "Probably don't have their own drivers and subcontracted. Two busses? I'll call a handful of my guys, we'll have drivers and a van to bring our drivers back.
Professor Druid is led to the first room. She starts rapping on the door. "Kids, let's go."
The door is opened by the officer and the kids rush out, flocking around Professor Druid.
"Okay everybody, time to see we're all here." She starts calling out names, her face growing pale when a name is called and a student doesn't answer.
"They weren't here with us today, Professor Druid. He had a doctor's appointment." Michael says. Three more names are flagged and she calls back to the school."
"Toby, Jessica. . .we're missing four students from the New York trip. Josette and the others say they weren't on the busses today." James says as he comes running out of the administration building.
James says four names.
"I know Marcus is here, I saw him a couple of hours ago." Jessica says. "He was getting off the shuttle."
James taps on a door and sighs in relief as a student opens it. "Oh good, you are here. There is a problem in New York, Professor Druid is there taking roll call to make sure all the students are accounted for. Nobody realized you weren't there. Didn't she take roll before you got on the busses?"
"Excuse my language Principal Madison, but *hell* no. If she took roll it wouldn't be a paid vacation for her instead of a school trip. I have an excuse to miss classes this day because I had a doctor's appointment."
"You're not in trouble kid. She is." He looks over as Toby comes up behind him. "Yeah, he's in his room. He woke up with a migraine and begged off the trip. He says one of the others ran a note in to the office."
"The girls are here too James, one had a dentist appointment and the other had to go into Boston for a court date stemming from her parents car accident." Jessica says, coming up behind them.
"What happened?" the student asks. James looks at the two teachers and nods. The story will be all over school after breakfast.
"From what I understand, your teacher told the others to meet her at a cafe near central park after touring the United Nations for dinner and never showed up. The others are at a police station because the restaurant called about teenagers loitering."
"She probably didn't contact the restaurant to expect them." Marcus Knight sighs. "I take it the trip is cancelled?"
"Yes, and possibly her contract with the school depending on her excuse for not showing up."
Jessica is on the phone with Katrina who sighs at the news. "Yes, our missing students are at the school. Jessica, have James put a notice on the phone that the bus will be coming in late due to unforeseen events for the families of the day students."
"Mac, the paddy wagons are ready to take them to the busses. Barry says he'll be there with the drivers in five minutes. They stopped to grab map units from their office in case the busses didn't have them."
Twenty minutes later Josette slumps in her seat on the bus.
"Barry." Sheldon grins. "I wasn't expecting you."
"I won't ask my guys to do something I won't do myself."
"Thank you, and please thank your drivers." Professor Druid says.
"It's our pleasure Ma'am, drivers stranding their passengers gives the whole industry a bad name." He toots the bus horn and shuts the door, pulling into traffic behind the other bus.
"Does this mean the rest of the week is cancelled?"
"I'm afraid so."
"Damn it, I wanted to see the Statue of Liberty." Josette says. "Maybe some day."
"Josette, are you ahead on your schoolwork?"
"Yes, do you want me to work on sheets tomorrow and Friday?"
"Please, it will take you all day to do two days of laundry. It won't be a full twenty hours but . . ."
"It's more than I would have had with being off this week." Josette sighs. "Next week is blankets?"
"Yes. We'll announce it a few times so students know to toss them down by Friday morning and get clean blankets."
"Does this mean we don't have to write papers?"
"Yes, your teacher will probably not be there after midterms."
Everybody moans. "She *really* doesn't teach what's in the books, if we're talking the standardized tests, Josette will be the only one to pass." one of the juniors says.
"We *really* didn't need to hear that but it doesn't surprise me from her." Professor Druid sighs as she calls the school.
In the office James moans as he gets that bit of information.
"So either way we need a new social studies teacher."
"And make a schedule of who can cover that class. And tutor the students so they can pass their tests."
"I'll put out the job requirements."
"Call Charlie and see if he knows somebody who is looking to change careers or can take it over for the rest of the year?"
"Charlie, phone. It's somebody from that school you worked at last year." Don Eppes says, holding the phone out to his brother. Charlie listens to the man on the other end and makes notes. "I'll ask around, we don't offer sosh classes at Calsci but I know teachers at Berkley and University of California."
He slides into his seat at the table, his Dad and brother looking at him. "The school needs a temporary social studies teacher, theirs wasn't working out to begin with and flaked out, leaving nearly a hundred students stranded in New York. She just *had* to take her students to New York for the week, but since not *all* of the students could afford hotel rooms she hired two busses without James' permission. She couldn't *believe* she had to pay for the students lunches and dinners, they'd only be returning to the school at nine. . .wouldn't the dining hall stay open for them? They'd been leaving at four in the morning, why didn't the students eat breakfast before they left?"
"Ummm, no dining hall's going to be open at four in the morning?" His father snorts. "Most teenagers should be in bed asleep."
"Yeah, she was seeing it as an all expenses paid trip to New York for her, she whined about having to pay the students admission at the museum Monday and so they could go up to the observation deck at the Empire State Building yesterday. Today she told the students to meet her at a cafe and left them to their own devices after they toured the United Nations."
Don shakes his head.
Josette pets Samhein and drops onto her bed still dressed when they get to the dorm. Waking at her usual time she grabs a can of Mountain Dew and drains it in nearly one gulp before she strips off her clothes, gets a hot shower, and dresses for the day. Unlocking the doors she cleans the litter box, filling the food and water dishes and puts a bottle of pop in her book bag.
/Anybody else need to go grocery shopping?/
/Yes. And the shuttles will be full./ Alexander says.
/Will you be done by dinner?/ David asks.
/Should, I'm heading right to the laundry after breakfast. Is everybody else studying before our midterms?/
/Hell yes, you're the only one who's going to be able to pass the standard tests./ Alan snorts. /She didn't teach a damn thing from the book./
/Wonder what the hell she'd have done about midterms? Refuse to allow us to take the tests?/
/She'd have been gone either way./ Josette looks up as Professor Druid comes over.
"Okay you lot, you're adult enough to know this. Your former teacher was arrested for being drunk and disorderly in Times Square this morning." Josette snorts to keep from cackling. "We're going to be announcing it in a few minutes. And while you will be taking your midterms, they won't count towards your grade since only Josette could pass them."
/Tonight after dinner?/
/Yeah, that will give us time to get stuff before we have to be back to lock the doors./
After breakfast Josette punches and moans at the overflowing cart in front of her. Putting her bag on the counter she starts sorting out the sheets and towels. Starting the washers running she heads to the supply closet to fill the dispenser in the front room and bring out more supplies for the back room.
"How are you coming . . .Ohhhhh." Principal Madison says as he comes into the back room before lunch to find Josette emptying the last dryer. "You'll be done by dinner."
"Should, if not it won't be that long." She signs out and follows him to the dining hall.
"How are you coming?"
"Got all the laundry washed and dried, I'll run it through the machine and make sets this afternoon."
Josette straightens up from wrapping the last set, looking at the time and punching out before taking the tunnels to the boys dorm. Leaving the cart outside the basement door she heads to the girls dorm.
After dinner David opens the tesseract to the megastore, everybody grabbing carts and starting to shop. An hour later they return to the school, Alan dropping off the girls bags in Josette's room before they head to the boys dorm.
Susan grabs Josette's key and goes out to check the mail. "Statement for your scholarship loan?" She asks at a letter from the bank.
"Or my savings." Josette sighs and opens it after looking in a bag. "Yours."
Susan looks into it. "Yep." She heads to her room with the rest of her bags as the twins head to theirs. Putting everything away Josette opens the envelope and sighs but nods at the scholarship loan statement.
The next morning is a repeat of that day, but this time after punching out Josette brings the laundry inside the girls dorm, calling for Abby to float everything into the the storeroom.
"You need to do laundry or anything?"
"No, I did it last week since I knew this week would be asshole to elbow. I just didn't know how hectic it would be."
"Yep." Abby sighs as they walk to their rooms. Josette coming back out to grab her mail. She smiles as she looks at her savings statement, the money from Mr. LeBeau had been unexpected but it is helping her future.
The next week everybody sighs as they look at the midterms for their social studies classes. Principal Madison is proctoring the test and he shakes his head when as more than one person had said only Josette is able to pass the exams.
"Did she have anything to say about the students?" He asks at the meeting after dinner. Their now former social studies teacher had arrived at the school to pack up her belongings.
"They *wanted* stuff." Professor Zeigler mock-whimpers.
"Yes, they wanted two meals in one day since they'd already missed breakfast, they wanted the teacher to pay admission to the places *she* had taken them, they wanted her to be a damn teacher. . .not a flake who dropped off the kids and took off for hours at a time." Professor Druid snorts.
Josette signs in Friday night after dinner, looking at the carts of blankets and starts filling washers with the boys blankets.
"How long were you working last night?" Anna asks the next morning at breakfast.
"Got done at twelve-thirty. We'll have to bring the blankets up after breakfast."
"Mom wrote us a letter asking about Christmas, she wants to know your favorite foods and colors."
"Does she *really* want four more people descending on her for Christmas? Especially ones she barely knows?" Susan asks. "Christmas is family, she already took us home the other two breaks."
"She wouldn't have invited you four the *first* time if she didn't want you there. And *yes*, you *will* be finding presents under the tree. She *insisted*. We're leaving the day after Josette washes the blankets and return the day before the new semester starts since we don't need to be back early for the dorm tours."
"You mean she wants us there the whole two weeks?" Josette squeaks. "I'll have to get in extra supplies for Samhein. . .and clear out the refrigerator of everything that would have gone bad while we were gone again." The others nod as Susan grabs a notebook and starts writing everything down. "At least the after Christmas, let me get what I really wanted *now* shoppers should be out of the stores when we return."
"And we need to know what your parents would like in the way of presents. Even if it *is* just some of the gift sets they have in the stores." Alexander says at Alan's opening mouth. He chuckles and nods.
"We'll have to make a trip out to the mall. And the warehouse store."
The others nod as Susan starts making a plan.
"Get in our shopping early, the closer to Christmas the quicker the shuttles fill. Even if they *will* be offering more of them."
"Josette, will you be missing anything while you're gone? Last year there was the church bazaar."
"No, they've already announced it would be early this year because they had to move to a larger place and couldn't get a later date. I'm on the list for the paper angels again, Profesor Druid can put anything I get from them in my room while we're gone." At the front table Professor Druid nods and repeats that for Principal Madison, both of them making plans to have a little *extra* in Josette's room when she returns.
Josette slumps into her chair after picking up her books and supplies for the winter classes, putting them away on the shelves over the desk.
"Ready to go tomorrow?"
"Yeah, my bag is packed. . .Samhein's food and supplies are there, and everything that could go bad while we're gone has been eaten up."
Alan chuckles as his mother sighs when she sees Josette. "You worked again last night?"
"Yes, the blankets. Not as bad as in the spring when students are graduating but it was still a good six hours of work. But since I won't be working for three weeks. . ." Josette shrugs.
"Are students staying over again?"
"Oh yes, there's always going to be students staying over. Professors Druid and Fletcher will be looking in on the girls periodically and Principal Madison and Professor Fletcher will be looking in on the boys. As we get more students, we get more students staying over."
"Yeah, losing her family really knocked the attitude out of her. Principal Madison giving her hell for her three demerits, the rest of the class turning their back on her for getting them all confined to the dorm the rest of that week. . ." Alice looks at them in the rearview mirror as she drives towards town and Josette and Anna tell her what happened. She shakes her head and sighs. "And then learning about her parents and siblings being killed a few months later. That story is told and she shakes her head. "Six months or so in a club fed facility and now they're facing life in a real prison for killing five people."
"Oh yes, and they were absolutely *sure* they'd be able to get away with everything. How *dare* he find signs of their wrongdoing." Josette hisses. "Morons, but that's people who think they're so damn special. Look at Kennedy." Alice looks at them and that story is told.
"Whatever happened to that fool?"
"According to Principal Madison, she's in intensive counseling at one of those places where they don't put up with your shit. The same type of counseling she *should* have been getting from our *beloved* former school psychologist should have been giving her but instead he was too busy blowing smoke up her ass telling her she was the damn victim."
"Fools like that don't deserve to be called counselors." Alice mutters. The kids in her van snicker.
Many long days later Josette unlocks her back door and lets Samhein out of his carrier, opening a can of cat food and putting that, dry food, and water down before joining the others to go grocery shopping, ending up in the twins room to sort out their purchases from the megastore.
Josette gets her bags unpacked and put away, turning her attention finally to the elephant in the room. . .the bags and boxes that had been on the table. Looking at the time she sighs and reaches for one, recognizing Professor Druid's handwriting. Putting it aside for later she reaches for another until she finds the ones from the paper angels and the dhs. She knows anything perishable will have been put away, she'd found some things in her refrigerator, and starts unpacking the rest of the bag and box of food. The gifts from the dhs and paper angels are what she'd expected, nothing personal and looking at the time she turns her attention to the presents from the school.
"You okay?" Anna asks. Josette's so quiet.
"Yeah, just putting away the presents we would have got if we stayed over. The stuff from paper angels was what I expected, nothing personal. Just the usual stuff you find on a tag in a store." Alexander and Michael nod. "They figure the 'pooooo' little orphans and kids in foster care will be glad for anything. And unfortunately a lot of the time they are." They sigh.
Principal Madison stands up and gives the welcome back to the school speech.
"How many students do we have graduating this semester?"
"Fifty-eight. Twelve girls, ten boys are boarders. The rest are day students."
A television is brought in and scenes of her teaching is shown on the screen, even her own lawyer glaring at her for some of her comments to the students. The scene of how she'd told the students how they were going to New York the next week is shown in all it's glory and she slumps in her seat since it makes her 'he's telling lies about me' story pure bullshit.
"Mr. Madison, did your students walk off on Ms. Chambers?"
"No your honor, they did not." He passes over a number of papers to the bailiff, who looks them over, shakes her head, then hands them to the judge. "My students were picked up at the cafe where Ms. Chambers had told them to meet her, they were waiting on the plaintiff. . .who never showed up. My students were taken to a police station when the cafe called saying a bunch of teenagers were loitering on the grounds."
"Ummm, did I forget to tell the cafe to expect us for dinner?" She whimpers.
"But I didn't *mean* to leave them for so many hours. . .I just went to have a little drink to settle my nerves. They just kept *wanting* things."
"You mean two meals in one day since they'd already missed breakfast?" Principal Madison's lawyer snorts.
"Yes. . .I mean *no*." she bleats when she sees everybody glaring at her. "I had to keep paying admission."
"*You* were the one who insisted on taking the students into New York. And telling everybody the week before they were supposed to go. What did you think was going to happen?"
"They should have paid their own way, this trip was for *me*, not them." She whines.
"Young lady, I seriously suggest you attend counseling, your actions could have led to the deaths of the students you were supposed to be protecting. Your case is dismissed. Now Principal Madison, your counterclaim?
"I'm asking for the cost of the bus, the cost of the ticket for my science teacher to fly to New York to pick up the students, and a partial reimbursement of the signing bonus we gave Ms. Chambers when she was hired."
"How long had she been teaching at the school?"
"Not even two months your honor. It was the week before our midterms that the incident happened. My other teachers are covering her class and scrambling to make sure the students can pass the standardized exams since she didn't teach from the book."
"Ms. Chambers, do you have your lesson plans to refute Mr. Madison's claims?" The judge asks.
"Lesson plans?" She makes an eeping sound. "No, I used the school's."
"By *our* plans she should have been wrapping up a section on civil rights and reviewing for midterms, not taking her students to New York." Principal Madison passes up the syllabus and the judge looks everything over.
"I would have liked to have taken your class Mr. Madison."
"Thank you your honor, we try our best."
"Do you have a copy of the contract for the coach?"
It's handed up along with a copy of the paperwork Ms. Chambers had signed when she was hired.
"Ms. Chambers, you do know the school has a zero tolerance policy on drugs and alcohol?"
"But I wasn't on the school grounds your honor." she whines.
"You were on a trip *for* the school, that makes it on the school grounds. I find for Mr. Madison in the counter-claim."
"Well?" Katrina asks as he settles in a seat at the teacher meeting that evening after dinner.
"Her case was dismissed and mine was granted. The judge suggested she attend counseling because she hadn't *meant* to leave the students that long, she just needed a drink to settle her nerves. The kids *wanted* stuff. They should have paid their own way, don't we know the trip was for *her*?"
"What a spoiled little brat. Any of our children is worth a million of her." Professor Zeigler snorts. "Now, what about a teacher?"
"I have good news there, I received a call from a Ms. Beverly Markham, she used to teach at Berkley but recently retired."
"Lemme guess, it's not agreeing with her?" Professor Fletcher smirks as she looks at Toby. They're both *technically* retired and are more than happy with their new jobs.
"No it's not, I sent her copies of our syllabus and copies of the classes with our former teacher, plus the details on what happened. She's coming out next week and will take over the classes when school resumes."
"She'd already heard of our problems from Charlie talking to others, as soon as I said that we still needed a teacher she jumped at the chance to help out. She's not looking for a permanent position, she'll work five years or until we can hire another teacher." The others nod in satisfaction. "Why five years?"
"She's planning on going back into the field then. She wants to go out with her boots on."
"A heads up, I'm going to be taking a year off in two more years to teach university classes again. Fall 2007 through summer 2008."
"Yes, they *really* want me to guest teach the year they add the political science graduate degree. Letting you know ahead of time will give you time to get a guest teacher for a year.
"I've been thinking that it's not far for you to handle it all, how would you like to head the government classes and we hire at least one or even two full-time teachers?" Professor Druid says.
"I'd like that, we need to bring in extra teachers if we want to keep the class sizes small." Professor Fletcher says. Principal Madison nods, writing that down.
"Let me nag Jed about coming in to speak, I think we can talk him into taking a spot at the school."