|Date posted||15 November 2011|
At Winslow, Taylor and the three bullies have been called to a meeting. The meeting is late to start by more than half an hour, with Sophia yet to arrive, with Taylor seeing the delay as a clearly deliberate move from the school. Danny emphasizes the importance of understanding that Alan's profession as a Lawyer mean he will be adept at manipulating situations like this one, an impression Taylor had already gained due to Alan calling the meeting himself after Danny contacted him on the issue.
Sophia is accompanied by a woman Taylor notes is clearly not her (biological) mother, and the meeting begins shortly after. Taylor compares the seating arrangement to the villain meeting she had attended, observing that she and Danny seem to be set apart from most of the other people in the room. The principal briefly outlines the reason for the meeting as being to discuss the victimization of Taylor and then asks her what charges she wishes to bring against the bullies. Taylor laughs and retorts that they had been brought there on short notice, and thus not had time to prepare. The principal requests that she outlines some of the major incidents, prompting Taylor to ask why not the minor day-to-day incidents that made school life horrible for her. She then retrieves a large pile of paper from her backpack.
Taylor lists off six incidents of harassment and abuse caused by the trio from the paper and then states that those were merely the incidents from the 8th of September, the first day back at school. She has a log for almost every school day starting last semester, and a record of all the hate emails she received. Mrs. Knott reads the emails out, and Taylor lists incidents from 9th September until the principal interrupts to say that they cannot listen to every single incident because there are other duties that need to be dealt with, asking that things be narrowed down to only the most relevant incidents. Taylor responds with anger that if it's so hard to listen to the list, it should make them realize at least some of how bad dealing with the incidents personally was.
Alan speaks up to say that it is obvious that things have been unpleasant, but questions how many of the incidents Taylor has proof for. Mrs. Knott points out that very few of the emails were sent from school email addresses, most of them coming from throwaway accounts from standard email services, and she claims that the possibility that those sent from school addresses were done from computers where the account had accidentally not been signed out can't be ruled out. Alan claims this as a reason to dismiss the emails as evidence, and the principal agrees despite Taylor's protests that a lot of the emails were sent during school hours.
Feeling frustrated by a lack of incidents she can provide clear evidence for, Taylor turns the conversation to Mr Gladly, who she had talked to about vandalism of her desk in his class and who had seen her being surrounded and taunted by other girls. He claims she had told him she wanted to deal with the problem herself. She has to hold back from shouting at him as she rejects this; she had said that she expected the current situation, a meeting of teachers and parents, to be a farce and that it was turning out to be exactly as such.
Danny asks if the others are accusing Taylor of making up everything she had collected, to which the principal responds that there is a possibility of a victim seeing more harassment or more severe harassment than actually occurred, and the three accused girls need to get fair treatment. Danny demands fair treatment for Taylor too, calling the locker incident "one of the most malicious, disgusting pranks I have ever heard of". He calls back to a conversation with the principal, where she promised she would look after Taylor and keep an eye out, something she has clearly failed to do.
Mr. Quinlan attempts to explain the impact of the local gangs on the school, and the serious events that are caused by this that teachers are occupied dealing with. Danny considers Taylor's situation serious and is not sold on this, however, Alan intervenes to ask what needs to ultimately be done to make Taylor and Danny walk away from the meeting satisfied.
Taylor demands a transfer to Arcadia High, and strongly opposes any suggestion of expulsion for the bullies because they would be likely to be 'rewarded' with places at Arcadia, which is a good school. She instead wants them to be given in-school suspension for the last two months of the semester with no privileges allowed, and again opposes the idea of an out-of-school suspension since they would visit Arcadia to harass her.
The parents of the other girls all respond that a two month suspension is too severe, and the principal instead proposes two weeks suspension, which Taylor yet again opposes as the last thing she wants. The principal argues that their schoolwork would suffer too much from the extended absence and that Taylor's work having suffered doesn't justify the same being inflicted on the trio.
Taylor gives up on punishment and demands just being transferred to Arcadia. The principal refuses to make any promises on it, from which Taylor deduces it won't happen. She stands up and dismisses the principal's claim that they are not Taylor's enemy, comparing their tactics to lawyer's tricks. She then threatens to bring a weapon to school to provoke the school into expelling her.
Danny attempts to calm Taylor and then announces his intent to speak to his friend in the media and get public pressure to help make things happen. However, Alan reveals he has acquired the surveillance video of Taylor's attack on Emma and also a signed statement from Shadow Stalker verifying the attack, and he could press charges. Danny protests that the concussion and provocation would serve as mitigating circumstances and prevent charges sticking, but Alan reminds Danny that most cases are decided by one side running out of money, with the implication that it would be very costly for the Heberts and they would lose eventually. Taylors protests of this being blackmail are ignored by the teachers, who refuse to act in response to something occurring outside of school. This prompts Taylor to finally exit in a rage, telling Danny that she needs to leave and will not be back for dinner. Before they part he tells her he loves her and that it is not over yet, and urges her not to be reckless.
Taylor calls up Lisa and expresses a desire to hit someone. Lisa informs her that preparations for a raid on the ABB are in progress, though the team hadn't mentioned it to Taylor due to her being in recovery and busy with the meeting. Taylor affirms interest in being part of it, and boards a bus towards the base.
- The conference was based on both the author's and others experiences with bullying and the school administrations treatment of it.
|Chapters||5.1 • 5.2 • 5.3 • 5.4 • 5.5 • 5.6 • 5.7 • 5.8 • 5.9 • 5.10 • 5.x|