We went down the hall to Barbara Fox’s room to see if she knew anything about what had happened during my absence. Barbara was also an English teacher. She said that the substitute teacher asked about my grade book, but she told him he really shouldn’t tamper with that. Common practice was not to make any changes to the existing grade book. The substitute was supposed to follow the curriculum and lesson plans provided and simply add grades as necessary. Obviously, the person who had been working in my classroom had not received (or had chosen not to use) any of the materials I carefully provided for every week of my absence. Barbara was very nervous, giving me the distinct impression that she knew more than she was telling me. I later found out I was right.
A few minutes later I received an e-mail from Clark Messenger (with a copy to Victor Baird) saying that he had changed my computer password back to the original one. There was no mention of the missing grades. Where had they gone? I needed them for student conferences which were only a few days away. Another e-mail from Marla Baker, telling me it was good to have me back, asked if she could talk to me after school.
Later in the day I received a note from Victor Baird. The main subject of that note dealt with swear words used by four male students in a skit assigned by the substitute. “Last week we had two students who slipped several swear words into a play. Please double-check all student written material to make sure any future occurrence of this possibility is eliminated.” The last two words were “Welcome back.”
Now I was really confused. The drama students were supposed to be working on fairy tale skits. My students told me that the substitute had allowed those boys to write a play that included “cuss” words.
The script included the word “f**k” and contained both violence and inappropriate sexual innuendos. As with previous incidents, I asked some of my students to document what had happened. According to one student’s written report, “The substitute said specifically that we could use cuss words in our script because we weren’t going to use them at first. He changed all the assignments. He said he’d be here for the rest of the quarter. He used cuss words to us four, like a**.” The narrative also stated that the students were assured that they would not get in any trouble for the use of such language.
…to be continued