Summons

For all the Luke Walker chapters click here 😀

Story continues from yesterday:

The first lesson on Thursday afternoons was P.E.  Tania and Isabel were getting changed for hockey.

“Oh no!” said Isabel as she tipped out the contents of her kit bag, “I forgot my socks!”

Tania laughed.  “Oh well, you’ll just have to wear your other socks.”

“What other socks?”

“The socks you came to school in.”

“I wore tights.”

“Oh.”

Isabel slumped down on the bench.  “I’m going to have to wear my boots with bare feet.  I’m gonna get blisters! Have you got any spare socks?”

“Sorry.”

“Isabel Jessop!”  Miss Stremp’s voice preceded her.

“Ooh, ask Miss Stremp,” suggested Tania, “she’s bound to have some spare kit around.  See if she’ll lend you some socks.”

Isabel wrinkled her nose at the prospect just as Miss Stremp caught up to her voice.

“Off you go girls – three laps of the field!” she ordered the class.  “Not you Miss Jessop.”

Tania shrugged apologetically at her friend and followed the rest of the girls outside.  Isabel pulled her boots onto her bare feet.

“Get dressed please Isabel, Mr Strang wants to see you in his office,” said Miss Stremp.

“Me?”

“Yes.”

“Why?”

“I imagine you’ll find out when you get there.”

Isabel thought she’d be glad of an excuse to avoid running around a cold, wet field but she wasn’t.  When she got to his office, Mr Strang wasn’t alone.

“Miss Jessop,” he said, “I don’t believe we’ve met.”

“No sir,” said Isabel apprehensively.

“I presume you know Mrs Oakley.”

“Yes.  Hello.”

Mrs Oakley’s stone cold face remained silent.

“Mrs Oakley wanted me to speak to you regarding the email you sent this morning.  Were you aware that students are not permitted to send messages to All Users?”

“er, no, I didn’t …”

“That facility is for senior staff only.  For the purpose of informing staff and pupils of rule changes, procedure changes, or snow days.  Things like that.”

“Oh, sorry, well …”

“And I have to say, aside from that infringement, you have upset a lot of people with your email.”

“How dare you be so insulting about people who dedicate their lives to helping others?” Mrs Oakley found her voice and there was a painful edge to it. “They’re good people!  Working hard to cure this horrible horrible disease!”

“Well, they …”

“Mrs King has only just died and there was nothing I could do to help her.  I had to watch … and she never complained.”  Mrs Oakley was overcome with emotion.

Mr Strang handed her a tissue and took over.

“What Mrs Oakley means is that this is not the time for political debate.  Emotions are running high at the moment, a lot of people are hurting, and you have just rubbed salt in the wound.”

“I’m sorry, I …”

“Up until now I have heard nothing but good things about you Miss Jessop.  At the end of last term all your teachers wrote glowing reports about the quality of your work, and more than a few of them noted that you were a pleasure to have in the classroom.  So I’m very surprised that you would do something so thoughtless, so inconsiderate and so offensive.  What do you have to say for yourself?”

“I’m sorry I upset people,” said Isabel, “that was the last thing I wanted to do.  I’m sorry Mrs King died, I really liked her.  And I’m sorry for anyone who has cancer.  That’s why I had to tell everybody now.  So that you’d give the money to a charity that does human-relevant research.”

“How dare you?” said Mrs Oakley angrily, “this charity has been working for decades to help end cancer!  Are you an expert?  Are you a scientist?  Are you a doctor?”

Isabel shook her head.

“So how come you think you know better than people who are?”

“I’ve read …”

“Let’s not get into this now,” interrupted Mr Strang, “this issue is highly contentious and there are a lot of points of view.  My point of view is simply this: the school intranet is not your own personal soapbox.  You are not permitted to send messages to all users.  Is that understood?”

“Yes sir.”

“You may return to class.”

Isabel was in no hurry to get back to P.E. so she dawdled miserably through the empty corridors.  She walked to the top floor and looked out the window at the hockey players chasing the tiny hard ball across the muddy pitch.  It was difficult to see who was who.  They were too far away.  She swallowed hard to stop herself crying.  She knew she’d done the right thing.  So why did she feel so guilty?

She didn’t head back to the changing rooms until she saw her class leave the field.  By the time she got there, Tania was dressed and ready.

“Where have you been?” she asked with concern.  “What happened?”

“Mr Strang and Mrs Oakley had a go at me for sending the email,” Isabel told her.

“Oh no, what did they say?”

“Only teachers are allowed to send messages to all users.”

“Oh.  Is that all?”

“No, but it doesn’t matter, it’s done now,” said Isabel, putting on a smile.  The bell went. “Come on, let’s go to music!”

Tania chatted cheerfully as they moved through the crowded corridor to the music room.  She made Isabel laugh.

“… and she said, ‘not if I can help it’ and she picked up the ball and threw it as far as …”

“I thought you were a nice person,” Madame DuBois stepped in front of them and interrupted.  “How could you do this thing?  You care more about a little mouse than a living person?  Je suis très déçu de toi.”

Tania watched in stunned silence as the French teacher walked away.  Then she turned back to Isabel.  “What’s her prob… hey, Izzy, what’s the matter?”

Isabel rubbed her watery eyes and forced a grin.  “I’m okay.”

“What did you put in that email?”

“Only the truth.”

******

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Story continues tomorrow, but if you don’t want to wait you can read it here now 😀

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vegan, vegetarian, vegan children, vegan children’s story, creative writing, juvenile fiction, vivisection, animal testing

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