FAKE EDUCATION NEWS
At precisely 12:19pm Monday the fire alarm at East High School in Denver, Colorado blared throughout the building. Jared Winslow had been trained for this moment and faced it with steely calm. Winslow, a 36-year-old social studies teacher and third floor co-captain of the East High Safety Team, is lean and upright. His jaw tightens as he recalls the smallest details of the undertaking he must now undertake.
Teachbad Action News (TAN) was given unprecedented access to Winslow’s team and granted permission to embed with them during Monday’s drill. This is their story.
“Let’s go! You know what to do! Just like we practiced! Move! Move! Move!…Stand! Pick up nothing! Walk quickly and quietly to the door and form a single file line. ” Winslow is confident and direct as he moves his third period World History class to the door and grabs his walkie-talkie out of the file cabinet drawer.
Some students in the back of the room are straggling. Moving slowly. Talking loudly. Picking things up. Winslow meets their gaze with intensity and focus. His jaw tightens again. “We’re comin’. Don’t have to give us that crazy inmate look. There’s no fire anyway. Jeez”, says one of the boys as the three fall in line, muttering under their breath.
We move to the hallway outside the next classroom where another class has begun down the hall. Winslow leaves his students with Averly Crouch, a young math teacher. “It’s third period”, she says. “These guys go to Brannum. I get your class if there’s an imaginary disaster during fourth period”.
“It is fourth period, Ms. Crouch….I have to go. Thank you”, Winslow asserts curtly.
“Class, stay with Ms. Crouch and I’ll see you outside. Ms. Crouch will tell me if there’s any funny business…Won’t you, Ms. Crouch?”
Ms. Crouch winces visibly and nods her head. “That’s right”, she says as she makes her hand into a fist and mockingly punches the air as if her favorite team had scored a point or she had just won a prize in a raffle. “Yep. No funny business”, she repeats. Winslow is gone.
“What a dick. If he’s too fucking stupid to know what period it is he probably shouldn’t be the goddam third floor fire bitch”, offered Ms. Crouch. “Jeezus…Ok, everybody start heading down the stairs on the other side of the computer lab. I’m gonna run back in and get my smokes.”
Winslow’s long, stork-like frame breaks into an awkward trot as he makes his way to the end of the hall. There he meets his third floor co-captain Sanford Morris. “Mr. Morris, what are you doing here? You’re supposed to be in Eagle Sector.”
“What?”, asks Morris.
“Why aren’t you in Eagle Sector for the drill?…monitoring the main hallway and the south stairs?”, Winslow asks, now somewhat alarmed.
“I thought I was supposed to be here. Does it matter?”
“What if this was a real fire, Mr. Morris, and not a drill?”, drills Winslow.
“I suppose it would matter even less…whatever. OK, fuck it, where am I supposed to be, chief?”
“Where the f…”, began Morris, but he was anticipated and cut off by Winslow. “South stairs! Now go!”
To be continued…