SCBWI's Blueboard - A Message & Chat Board

Just enough chaos to get someone expelled

Discussion started on

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wwa
The bully in my upper-MG story is hurting other kids a lot but keeping his actions far enough below the radar that adults aren't noticing. My protagonists want to trick the bully into crossing the line and getting himself expelled.

I need the kid to do something more interesting than flooding the school bathrooms, but less potentially deadly than starting a fire or blowing something up. I need it to be exciting enough to cause some chaos and bad enough to get a kid expelled from middle school.

Care to help me brainstorm?
#1 - October 17, 2012, 08:04 PM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

Member
Poster Plus
bringing drugs, weapons, or alcohol to school is pretty much immediate expulsion ... with zero tolerance laws ... weapons can be as innocuous as a few stray bb's or a toy gun. Medication can be over the counter ... I think it has to be pretty bad to be expelled .. which means kicked out totally and not allowed to return for an extended length of time. Do you mean suspension, perhaps?
#2 - October 17, 2012, 08:09 PM
Making metaphors out of molehills for over thirty years.

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI RA
  • SCBWI Region cencal
Expulsion is usually reserved for extremely serious offenses like bringing a weapon and threatening to use it.  Drugs and alcohol may only get you a suspension unless it's chronic, at least in my area.  In my experience it's pretty rare and requires a full school board hearing, often with lawyers.  I've only known it to happen at my school four times over my fifteen year career: twice for weapons, once for repeated sexual harrassment over a period of years, and I don't recall the reason for the other. Maybe a suspension is more along the lines of what you're looking for. 
#3 - October 17, 2012, 08:13 PM
Rebecca Langston-George
The Women's Rights Movement: Then and Now
Capstone: January, 2018

Liz
Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region indiana
Many schol districts have webb sites that have the school handbooks that list the reasons for suspension and expulsion on the site.  I have used them as research to look up inforation for a school in my fictional town in the area I placed the town. 

There are interesting differences in the handbooks depending on the size of the district, if it is urban, small town, or rural. 

Perhaps looking up schools in the area that you have placed your story location may help you with ideas on what is needed to be expelled.  Sometimes it is an accumulation of events - too many suspensions, etc.
#4 - October 17, 2012, 08:44 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

http://www.lizstrawwrites.com/

We have tons of suspensions at the high school level for inappropriate computer use and skirting the filters. Also smoking, continuous breaking of school appropriate dress codes (wearing hats, hoods, spaghetti straps, etc.), setting off a fire alarm or fireworks, belligerence, fighting - this could all result in out of school suspension. It's really hard to expel a public school student. It has to be super bad.
#5 - October 18, 2012, 05:48 AM
J.Ro
NO PLACE TO FALL (Harper Teen, 2014)
www.jayerobinbrown.blogspot.com
www.jayerobinbrown.com

Pulling the fire alarm? That's usually taken quite seriously, especially during a blizzard:)
#6 - October 18, 2012, 06:45 AM
www.jancoates.ca
2018, Talking to the Moon (MG)
2018, A Halifax Time-Travelling Tune (PB)
2016, Sky Pig (PB)
2015, The King of Keji
2014, Rocket Man

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wwa
Sorry, I overemphasized the expulsion thing. If necessary, I can always make someone other than the school administration (like the bully's parents) be the driving factor in the decision to remove him from the school.

The important part is the chaos. I need the kid to do something big and noisy and cruel that draws a crowd. I've already done a couple of fights and some mean shenanigans in the bathroom.

Quote
Pulling the fire alarm? That's usually taken quite seriously, especially during a blizzard:)
 

Yeah, maybe, as a start...
#7 - October 18, 2012, 12:25 PM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

Is it public school? I don't have experience with that - it's not too hard to get expelled from private school. A friend of mine got expelled for using the word for a female's private parts to her face. Not the c word, just the anatomically correct word. One kid got expelled for stealing another kid's wallet - except he didn't. Years later it came out that he got set up because he was better at basketball and football than these other two kids and they wanted him out so they could play more... so one acted like his wallet was stolen out of his locker and the other blamed this kid, and he was out.
#8 - October 18, 2012, 12:41 PM
Robin

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region epa
How about spraying someone with the fire extinguisher? He'd break the glass to get it which would bring the fire trucks, plus somebody would be covered in foam, along with the hallway floor and walls. It could be quite a mess and would certainly draw a crowd.

Pepper spray in the face could be really bad, too. Somebody screaming and clawing at their face would be a bit unsettling in a school hallway. Adding someone yelling "Fire!" to either of these scenarios would create plenty of chaos.
#9 - October 18, 2012, 02:27 PM

What about trash canning? Kid picks up another kid and trash cans him. Or pushing them into holly bushes planted outside of the school on a dare?
#10 - October 18, 2012, 02:27 PM
J.Ro
NO PLACE TO FALL (Harper Teen, 2014)
www.jayerobinbrown.blogspot.com
www.jayerobinbrown.com

Member.
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region rmc
When I was in high school, some students animal-napped a few chickens and goats and let them loose in the school. It was certainly chaotic, and loud and cruel--the poor animals were disoriented and very frightened. I believe the culprits were in heap of trouble, but not expelled . . .
#11 - October 18, 2012, 03:16 PM
GRAVE IMAGES, Scholastic Press 2013
FOREMAN FARLEY, Grosset & Dunlap 2014

www.jennygoebel.com

Global Moderator
Poster Plus
  • ***
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region socal
I like the animal idea for sheer chaos. You could also try vandalism - maybe spray paint all over the walls inside the school or a booby trap that goes badly wrong.
#12 - October 18, 2012, 03:29 PM

Here's a newspaper article about three local students who got in trouble for releasing a six foot emu into their school building.

http://www.omaha.com/article/20120930/NEWS/120939995

Who knew you could buy an emu in Iowa? For $30?

I need to get out more...
#13 - October 18, 2012, 06:31 PM

Member
Poster Plus
  • *
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI PAL
  • SCBWI Region wwa
Wow, a $30 emu in a high school. That's really something.

Thanks for the ideas, everyone. You've really helped me jog my brain.
#14 - October 19, 2012, 09:43 AM
Twitter: @MelissaKoosmann

Administrator
Poster Plus
  • ****
  • SCBWI Member
  • SCBWI Region dakotas
Wow to the emu! Obviously, some kids need their creativity managed a little better...

When I was in school, some kids got in trouble for removing dissected frog organs from the biology lab. They stuck them in their mouths and walked out with them. I'm not sure to what extent their punishment was, but yuck.

Some kids in my sons' school a few years ago broke open and set off the fire alarm in school, and were suspended. That was in elementary school. But you could use that idea and build it up (a fake bomb threat, for example--there are some European teens on an FBI watch list at the moment for calling in bomb threats to a local high school from like, Romania. That sort of thing is not a joke to the authorities.)
#15 - October 19, 2012, 10:11 AM

What about something that would put another student, or perhaps a teacher, at risk -- but the perpetrator doesn't realize exactly how much risk would be caused. For instance, putting hot peppers into a teacher's cup of coffee, thinking it would be gross--only to find out that the teacher is allergic to hot peppers.

Also, what kind of school is it, and where? I went to a very rigid private girl's school, and it was not all that hard to get expelled. We had a strict policy that allowed no "warnings" for stealing, and one girl got expelled for stealing candy off another girl's locker that had been decorated for her birthday. Another girl got expelled for calling the principal the F-word (in public). And a third got expelled -- second semester senior year! -- for taking a textbook from the lost-and-found, crossing out the name of the original owner, and writing her own name instead. So if it's a private school or something like that, there could be very specific rules that have expulsion as a punishment.
#16 - October 24, 2012, 05:31 PM

Member.
Poster Plus
If a student is repeatedly suspended, a principal can decide to expel them.
#17 - October 25, 2012, 07:21 AM

Members:

0 Members and 2 Guests are viewing this topic.