Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Red Flag

Artwork display at Fairfield High School, Ohio.

Mrs. Crawford held a piece of paper. Her hand shook as she read through it, while her son Brad sat sullenly, not bothering to meet his mother's eyes while she confronted him.

"It says here that you hung effigies of your classmates in the hallway, Brad. Effigies! And that you stabbed them and doused them with fake blood, then made puddles of blood on the floor." Brad sat silent. "Is that true?" Mrs. Crawford's voice rose higher as fear clutched her throat. Brad stared beyond her, not meeting her eyes.

"Answer me! Is that true?" Mrs. Crawford knelt down into her son's line of vision, but he continued to avoid her stare and instead tilted his head back, placing his hands behind his head as he slouched down in his chair and kicked out his feet.

"You wrote their names on their chests and made bulls-eyes? Brad, I --" Mrs. Crawford read the letter silently to herself again, then dropped her hand to her side.  "You've been expelled, you know. Brad. Are you listening to me? You've been expelled." Brad sat motionless, deaf to his mother.

"Answer me!" she cried, her voice cracking. She dropped into a squat near Brad's feet and continued reading the letter. "A police report has been made. We strongly advise that Brad receive psychological counseling. A full report of the incident can be obtained from the school board. Legal action may be taken by the victim's families."

Mrs. Crawford dropped the rest of the way to the floor. "Legal action, Brad. You could go to jail. Don't you care? Don't you care about anything?" Angered, she rose to her feet again and grabbed her son's chin in her hand. "Answer me!" she demanded.

Brad's eyes finally met his mother's. With his chin squeezed between her shaking fingers, he shrugged before he knocked her arm away. "Whatever."

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