Posted in Writing Prompts

Fandango’s Story Starter #40- A “NO” Problem

This week’s Story Starter teaser is:
Jack got that all too familiar dull, sick feeling in the pit of his stomach when he…
voted “No” on the new school policy.
All heads turned toward him, and a dozen pairs of eyes drilled into him. He knew he wasn’t the only one who objected because he’d had a discussion on the possible ‘downside’ of the policy with two colleagues. But today, he was alone. In recent years, objecting to anything had become the most objectional thing anyone could do.
It wouldn’t have been so bad if his ‘no vote’ led to an adult conversation and reevaluation of the ‘pros and cons’ associated with the policy but that’s not how things worked these days. Disagreement was frowned upon.
Jack took a moment to lay out the problem he had with the policy move but was, of course, outvoted in the second round. If it had ended there, the democratic process would have remained intact. But it didn’t.
The same day, Jack had an unannounced ‘evaluation visit’ to his classroom from the vice principal. Days later, he received a memo declining the yearly vacation period he’d had for 7 years prior. And two weeks later, the official evaluation document from the vice principle listed several areas ‘for improvement’ never before mentioned. The final, now clear, retribution came at the end of the school year. His classroom would be disbanded, and his title was going to be changed, in September. He’d become a ‘floating’ member of the science department, IF the funding came through for it.
It was no longer about Jack, he knew that. Putting in his resume’ for a new job would be his summer long focus. He was the ‘example’ made for any other free-thinking teacher to ‘put up or shut up’ if you want to keep paying your bills.

September rolled around. Jack became a science teacher in a new charter school and Jack’s wife started homeschooling their own kids. He was happy but couldn’t help but worry about the kids he’d left behind in a ‘vat of group think’ and intolerance.


I love a well told story. If it makes me laugh, all the better.

6 thoughts on “Fandango’s Story Starter #40- A “NO” Problem

    1. Leaving because you’re harassed out is different from leaving on your own because of the policy conflict. One is not ethical; the other is a choice. Guess you missed that subtle difference. Your next leap could be because the administration is ‘racist’… maybe that will stick. LOL

      1. Maybe the policy he voted “no” on was the banning of books, or teaching about critical race theory, or “Don’t Say Gay.”

      2. I had no idea that those things were up for votes within schools among teachers and administrators?
        You can go there if you want. You’re projecting meaning in this I surely didn’t intend.
        My point was probably unclear. I’ll restate it.
        “People voicing unpopular concerns (in the workplace) shouldn’t be harassed or fired for speaking their mind. If you want a constructive innovative environment, that should be applauded.” (Actually, a polling of the opinions of parents should have been a part of this but it was workplace intolerance I was focused on. Sorry I misled you.)

      3. “People voicing unpopular concerns (in the workplace) shouldn’t be harassed or fired for speaking their mind. If you want a constructive innovative environment, that should be applauded.” I wholeheartedly agree. Too bad so many school districts discourage such discourse.

        Before I retired, I worked for a firm where most of the people I worked for and with were ultra conservative. I quickly learned to keep my mouth shut. In fact, that’s one of the reasons I started blogging anonymously — so I could express my opinions and perspectives without fear of blowback in the workplace.

      4. Well, everything that’s discussed concerning a workplace either isn’t, or shouldn’t be, viewed through a political lens. Sadly, too many people ‘live’ in that space or mindset. Excellence is suffering for it. Schools are among the worst expecting a political outcome. That tells me the children aren’t the priority and those adults should grow up. Businesses are taking that same ‘stupid’ avenue.

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