Me responsible? - Yeah, right!

by Brian Reeves

Characters in this story:

Mr Weedon A teacher
Ms Simpson A teacher
Donny A student
Janice A student
Ade A student
Wendy A student

Scene 1: A classroom
Y8/9 students sitting glumly in a classroom as Mr. Weedon talks. Donny is holding a red pen, while behind him another student is throwing something.

Mr. Weedon: You have to list 5 rights, and 5 responsibilities that you think a citizen should have. As this is a test, you may not talk, and you must write in black or blue ink...
Mr. Weedon: (Holding up the item thrown)
Well Donny, as usual you've shown us all what you think of school rules! Detention tomorrow.
Donny: It weren't me, sir! You're always picking on me! That's against human rights!
Mr. Weedon: I'm going to talk to your tutor about your irresponsible attitude.

Scene 2: The staff room
Mr. Weedon is talking to Ms Simpson, Donny's tutor.

Ms Simpson: I know that look on your face. It's Donny again, isn't it.
Mr. Weedon: He just doesn't show any respect.
Ms Simpson: It's not just you, John, it's the same all over. I'll have a word, for what good it'll do...

Scene 3: An empty classroom
Ms Simpson is talking to Donny. In the background the door is open & another student, Janice, sticks her head round.

Donny: Weedon is lying! It wasn't me, he's got it in for me, I got rights...
Ms Simpson: It's Mr. Weedon. And he's not lying! All he's trying to do is teach our class...
Janice: (sticks her head round the door)
Donny's telling the truth this time, Miss. It wasn't him.
Ms Simpson: OK, so you didn't throw anything this time, Donny, but what about all the other stuff? Like doing the test in red ink?
Donny: That's not the point! Weedon says I threw something and I threw nothing. All the teachers pick on me, you only believe it wasn't me ‘cause she says so!
Janice: She! I've got a name you know!

Scene 4: Same classroom, that afternoon
Ms Simpson is talking to the whole class. Donny, Janice, Ade & Wendy are all laughing, as there is a roughly-made dummy at the front of the class (like a "penny for the guy" effort).

Ms Simpson: This is Guy. He's in our class, at least for the afternoon.
Donny: He's a dummy!
Ms Simpson: Yes. And a bit of a goat. He's just a guy, really. But his behaviour has been poor.
Janice: Poor Guy! What's he done?
Ms Simpson: (reads from the board)
Guy has been: Rude to teachers and assistants; Rude to other students; Disrupting lessons and stopping others from learning.
Donny: But he can't even speak.
Ms Simpson: Someone can speak for him.
Ms Simpson: So who's seen Guy misbehaving?
Ade: He's a dummy miss!
Ms Simpson: Just pretend. You've seen kids misbehave lots of times.
Ade: Right, well it was at lunchtime, and this guy Guy pushed in the queue and the supervisor told him to go to the back, and he said she needed glasses 'cause he was there all the time...
Donny: But did the lady dis Guy? Did she shout at him?
Ade: Maybe, but only after he dissed her.
Ms Simpson: Janice, was Guy rude to you?
Janice: Yes, he wouldn't use my real name. Said it should be Boff, and that's what he'd call me.
Donny: Maybe he couldn't remember your name.
Janice: Yeah, like we didn't go to Primary School together and everything...
Ms Simpson: Now we come to the most serious point. Education is surely a right for everybody, so we all have a responsibility not to stop...
Wendy: This guy is always messing up lessons. He never does what he's told, cheeks teachers, makes trouble, chucks stuff...
Donny: Is it only him, though?
Wendy: Mostly!
Donny looks upset.
Ms Simpson: Are you all right, Donny?
Donny: We all know who everybody's talking about! I'm not stupid! Nobody likes me...
Janice: They do! You're a laugh. It's just...
Ms Simpson: It's really about that test you did for Mr. Weedon this morning. Everybody has rights and responsibilities, once they stop being babies. Which means...
Janice: There are things you can expect...
Ade: And things others can expect from you.
Wendy: Rights and responsibilities. We did it with Mr. W.
Ms Simpson: So, in school, what would you say a teacher's responsibilities are?
Wendy: To teach us. Look after us, I suppose...
Ade: Mark our work and stuff.
Ms Simpson: And a teacher's rights?
Donny: What about students' rights?
Janice: They both need respect.
Ade: What are our responsibilities then, miss?
Donny: What does all this mean, though? What good's it all?
Ms Simpson: People live together, in all sorts of different groups. Responsible for each other. Families, schools, work...
Donny: I'm responsible for you, and this lot? Yeah, right!
Wendy: We're all in it together, Donny!
Ade: So we're all responsible for each other? Even the whole country? That's' a bit steep!
Ms Simpson: In a small way.
Donny: That's stupid. I'm going to the toilet, and I don't need no-one's help!
Ms Simpson: Come back! You need a note!
Janice: Leave him, miss. He'll get over it.
Wendy: So what's all this to do with Guy, then? He's a scapegoat!
Ms Simpson: I told you he was!