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The Principal’s Office

-Fireworks are a serious issue. Do you understand?
-Yes.
-There is nothing I take more seriously than the safety of my students. Nothing. Do you understand.
-Yes.
-If that firework had gone off in Mrs. Fuchs’s bookbag she could have lost her fingers.
-It would have been horrible.
-What?
-It would have been horrible.
-Did you see Paul with the firecracker?
-No.
-I know he’s your friend. Sometimes friends make mistakes. I understand that. I was a kid once.
-I didn’t see him.
-Sometimes we forget what we see. Did you see Paul with the firecracker?
-I didn’t.
-Look, I appreciate your loyalty to your friend. It’s admirable.
-Thank you.
-I think you saw him.
-I didn’t.
-What if you saw him.
-I didn’t.
-But what if you did? Listen I’m not telling you to say something that’s not true but sometimes people are wrong. You’re a smart kid, you must know that. Even me, even the principal I know it’s hard to believe but even principals are wrong. Are people sometimes wrong?
-Yes.
-Are you sometimes wrong? Are you telling me you’re always right?
-No.
-So you could be wrong. You could have seen Paul with the firecracker?
-I didn’t.
-But you could have? You could have seen him and gotten distracted or forgotten or maybe somebody was talking to you and you saw him out of the corner of your eye? Who knows what we see half the time right? Am I right?

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7 thoughts on “The Principal’s Office

  1. This sounds like an incident in H.S.; except it was a rumor that two girls kissed in the hallway. I thought they were going to put me in a dunking school to “get the truth outta me”.

  2. This reminds me of a conversation I had in the Principle’s office in H.S. too. The Principle had called me in and had started lecturing me for skipping school when I had done no such thing. This confusing circular conversation lasted about 20 minutes and sounded pretty much like your post above. In the end, he was frustrated so he said “Listen Ms. (insert my first name, and NOT my last name), I know what I’m talking about I have the print out right here.” When I pointed out he had the wrong student, instead of apologizing for his mistake he said I was dismissed but that he’s see me back soon as he was sure I had also skipped or done something.

  3. “Ah, but the strawberries, that’s, that’s where I had them, they laughed at me and made jokes, but I proved beyond the shadow of a doubt, with geometric logic, that a duplicate key to the ward room icebox did exist, and I’ve had produced that key if they hadn’t pulled the Caine out of action. I, I know now they were only trying to protect some fellow officer.” Capt Queeg, Caine Mutiny

  4. I think it’s a brilliant example of where one person is not prepared to think they can be wrong, but will press upon the other person that they have to consider they are wrong.

    I’ve pondered this before and it’s a fine game – you really need some kinda ‘we both could be wrong’ truce thing going on – otherwise one person pushes their bloody mindedness over the other. Which is, I’d guess, why people rarely humour they could be wrong – in case the other person wont humour they could be wrong and rides rough shod over them. I should record this link for latter explanitory purposes.

  5. Adeville,
    When I pointed out he had the wrong student, instead of apologizing for his mistake he said I was dismissed but that he’s see me back soon as he was sure I had also skipped or done something.

    One time I went to a parent teacher interview as a parent – and when I got there the teacher looked sour with me. Said I’d missed my appointment.

    Luckily I’d brought the appointment paper with me, which showed the time I’d arrived at.

    Nothing. And still acting sour with me.

    I think teachers often so set their will to iron against children who actually will argue a lot of stupid things that when it comes to the teacher saying something stupid, they have forgotten how to have some humility about it.

  6. Mikey says:

    I had a conversation a bit like this with someone at my school except I was the teacher and he was the student and it wasn’t a firework, it was a stolen Pokemon card. And it didn’t end enigmatically, it ended with me pretending I would email this kid’s dad to corroborate his story and he suddenly said “Ok, I admit it, I was lying”.

    Maybe he just got bored of my continual heavy-handed insinuations and thought he’d get back to his food quicker if he just cut to the inevitable conclusion of me believing what I’d decided to believe in the first place.

    But he did hand the Pokemon back. Which makes me think that Paul probably did do it after all.

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