This one was years ago, but for some reason I thought about it today.
I think I was in my second year of teaching high school. I was in charge of the yearbook because it came with the job. Seriously, the principal called me and said, "If I were to offer you a job, would you be willing to take the yearbook?"
What do you say? Of course I would! I was eager to get out of teaching middle school, and I was terrified of my principal at the middle school. I taught there for three years, and then I like to say I was paroled.
Anyway, the former yearbook adviser was a tremendous help to me, and one of the things she said was that we didn't put freshmen on the yearbook staff. There were many reasons for it, all of them good, but mainly it was because the staff was chosen the spring before (by application only), staff members had to sell advertisements during the summer, and the staff had already attended the summer workshop. Theme, cover, and other decisions had already been made, and an incoming freshman wouldn't have been part of any of it.
At Open House the week before school started, this sweet girl showed up with Journalism on her schedule. She had been put on the yearbook staff. I explained to her that there had been a mistake and we would have to get her schedule changed. Then the counselor came to me, and I explained the same thing to him. I went over all the reasons, and I know he had a bazillion schedules to fix, but it wasn't fair to her or to the rest of the staff members to put her on the staff. I thought the matter was settled.
On the first day of school, about 30 minutes before school started, I was walking down the hall with my miniature coffee pot to get water for coffee. The principal stopped me in the hall and asked about that young lady and her being on the yearbook staff. I explained my reasons AGAIN, and that's when he went kind of crazy. He started saying things like that young lady needed some special help and he thought I would be the one to give it to her, but apparently he was wrong, and blah blah blah blah blah. I just stood there with my mouth hanging open. He yelled at me so loudly that when he finally left, a co-worker came out of his classroom to see if I was all right. I still remember the feeling of standing in the hall with a carafe of water in my hand, just staring at the principal open-mouthed.
I thought to myself, "What just happened here?"
Needless to say I let the matter drop, and I let her stay on staff. I wondered what kind of problems she had that she needed "special help" with. She came from a stable family, was an excellent student, was popular and well-liked, and she balanced all her responsibilities very well. I wondered if there were a deep, dark secret that I would only find out later.
In all honesty, she became one of my go-to staff members, one of the hardest workers and one of my favorites. I could turn to her for anything. We became very good friends (there was a Roy Orbison song she started singing every time she saw me), and one day (months into the school year) I sort of hinted but didn't come right out and ask why it had been so important for her to be on staff. She looked puzzled and said her dad wanted her to be on it, and she thought we chose her. Turns out her daddy worked for the mayor, and THAT was the "special help" the young lady needed.
Her daddy wanted her to be on the yearbook staff, the principal wanted to make the mayor's employee happy, and so he lied through his teeth to make me keep her.
I adored her. I never had any respect for him after that. Especially when I told him my suspicions about a child molester who was working in our school, and he didn't do anything about it. But that's a blog post for another day.