This fall Alyssa applied to be a Safety Patrol Officer at her new school. There were two weeks of hoping and great anticipation before she finally received a nice, long letter congratulating her on being chosen, and detailing all the work, training, and various shifts that come along with being a S.P.O. But mainly, she focused in on the following:
I am positive those people didn’t know what they were getting themselves into.
A few days later, she got a handbook, sash, and a STOP/WALK sign. Did I mention there was a badge?
She got a rigorous schedule, which she was responsible for keeping up with all by herself, and reported to work every day, fully dedicated to keeping the halls and sidewalks safe. She is very serious about her job.
The first few weeks were uneventful. A few runners, a couple of kids without hall passes, run of the mill infractions.
But, a couple of weeks ago she came home and said she’d had trouble on the beat. A kid defied her when she instructed him to “WALK” not “RUN,” and then called her a name when she threatened to report him.
“What did he call you,” I asked.
She pursed her lips. “Cheese.”
I coughed in an attempt to muffle my snort. It took me a few seconds to compose myself enough to ask the obvious question: “Why did he call you cheese?”
“Because I told him to walk! But that’s okay, I reported him,” she said, in her best I’m telling on you voice.
“For calling you cheese? Because that’s not really a bad word,” I pointed out.
“No, because he didn’t walk, AND he called me cheese. And it was bad when he said it.”
“Was this one of your classmates? Was it a fourth grader?” I prodded, because anyone who would deliver such a sophisticated insult must be at the top of the school’s food chain.
“He’s in Kindergarten.”
I wasn’t able to disguise the snort that time.
Apparently Safety Patrol Officers don’t carry much weight with rogue Kindergarteners, because since then he has continued to call her hateful names, including “banana,” and “underwear.” He has also pointed at her repeatedly. He taunts her, and enjoys it.
These blatant acts of contempt toward authority have only deepened her resolve to stop hall-runners and name-callers and taunters everywhere.
She’s still showing up every day, watching, waiting for the rule breakers to show themselves.
With great power comes great responsibility. And for those who have answered the call, a need to dominate the hall.