I just read the story about two nine-year old boys who mixed some rat poison into their teacher’s water because they wanted to see how she would react. My favorite line in the story: NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, “It’s unfortunate where kids get these ideas. Fortunately we’ve got it handled. But God knows where kids get these ideas (italics mine).”
Come on Bill, you were a nine-year old once; you should know where kids get those ideas. Of course, the ideas kids get today may not be quite the same as the ideas kids got when you were a kid, but they’re similar.
The boys weren’t thinking about the rat poison hurting their teacher, Good chance they thought the stuff only killed rats, and certainly their teacher wasn’t a rat. I imagine they just wanted to see the expression on her face when she tasted the stuff. Maybe they wanted to see if she’d twitch a little or, best of all, maybe she’d throw up. It’s a lot of fun for a nine-year old to see his teacher throw up.
When I was in college we sat around one afternoon talking about the pranks we (or our classmates played on our teachers. Among those I remember…
- The ringer was removed from a bell a teacher used to get her student’s attention.
- The jelly side of a PB&J was smeared along the edge of a teacher’s desk.
- Honey was smeared on a teacher’s desk chair.
- The chalk in the tray of her chalk board was glued together.
- The desk drawers of a teacher’s desk were glued shut.
- The pictures a teacher tacked to her bulletin boards were all turned so the back showed.
- A teacher’s desk was set on roller skates.
These were all done by boys, but a couple girls committed my favorite of the pranks. At a Catholic school their teacher, a nun, was responsible for keeping the holy water trays filled by the church doors. The girls emptied the holy water from each tray into a bottle and replaced it with jelly beans. I didn’t think they should have been punished for that, but they were.
I don’t remember anyone saying anything about a teacher’s water, or coffee, or food being messed with, but the two boys who wanted to see how their teacher would react reminded me of a boy who put just a pinch of salt, not more than ten grains, in his mother’s coffee just to see how she would react.
She did not react well. She spit the coffee back in her cup, and then poured it down the drain. The boy who was giggling stopped when he was sent to his room and told to think about why what he’d done was really a terrible thing.
I still don’t think it was all that terrible, but when I was older I once sprinkled a few grains of salt in my coffee. Then I knew what a terrible thing I had done.
Nine and ten and even twenty year old boys are likely to be mischievous. It’s just very unfortunate that a couple boys did not know that poison is poison and even though it might be intended for rats, or ants, or cockroaches it can be harmful to anything, even teachers. I would expect that’s something those boys should now know.