The headmaster walked into school somewhat warily on what had colloquially become known as Muck Up Day. The day when the Upper Sixth left school for the last time to start their study leave had always been one of high spirits, but in more recent years, the spirits had been getting higher, and the pranks sillier. So it was with trepidation that he approached the gates, wondering what he would find within. As first, everything seemed normal, but as he turned into the cloister to head towards his office, he was stopped in his tracks by the sight of two large goal posts placed on the cloister lawn. Surrounding the goal posts were what looked like pitch lines, in white paint all over the cloister lawn/hockey pitch as it now was. He suppressed a chuckle as he carried on. While the culprits had rather defaced the beautiful lawn, the grass would grow and the paint could be mowed out. It could have been a lot worse.
He reached his office and sat for some time at his PC, catching up on email. The ringing of the 9 o'clock bell was swiftly followed by the ringing of his phone. On the other end was Mr Pugh, the head of games, who seemed irate. It appeared that the teacher had unlocked the gates to the swimming pool, to prepare it for the Fourth form swimming lesson later that day, only to be confronted by a bright purple expanse of water instead of a blue one. Someone had put potassium permanganate to good use, unfortunately at the expense of the swimming pool, which would now be out of use for several weeks while it was cleaned and repaired.
The Head sighed as he hung up the phone. The cloister lawn was one thing, this was quite another, and of a much more serious order of damage. He would call the caretaker and get him to provide the security camera footage of the last 24 hours to him, so he could study it tbat afternoon.
The day continued with no further interruptions, until, ten minutes before lunch, the fire alarm started ringing. As far as he knew, there was no alarm scheduled, and having confirmed this with his secretary, he made his way onto the sports field with everyone else. As he reached the field, he realised that everyone's attention was focussed on the gymnasium. Worried that there may be a fire, he turned to check, and saw what the real focus of attention was: a huge banner, unfurled from the roof, with the words "Upper Sixth 2009: Legends Forever" written on it.
So he would now also have to find who set off the fire alarm, and saw fit to climb on to the roof of a three story building to attach a banner to it. But that could wait for a few minutes: first, it was lunchtime.
Five minutes after returning to his office, his secretary called through to him. "Sir, I have the Head of Biology on the phone. He would like you to go to the main Science block straight away. There has been another incident."
What this time? Had the Upper Sixth tried to blow something up? Burn something down? He pushed open the door to the main Biology lab and a terrible smell hit him. There, standing in the middle of the lab was a sheep. With a sign round its neck reading "Dolly". Dolly had obviously been in the lab for at least an hour, and had apparently not been very happy with the idea, if the smell and chaos were anything to go by. This was the last straw...
Several hours later, he switched off the video player, and picked up a pen. The culprits had surprised him. One of them was easily identifiable, and it seemed like the other was her good friend. Both had always been a credit to the school - bright, intelligent, hardworking and above all well behaved. By rights, he should expel them, but this was the first time they had ever been in trouble at school. Instead, he pulled out a sheet of paper and began to compose a note:
Dear Mr Jenkins,
I'm sorry to inform you that it has come to light that the two students who masterminded the "Muck Up Day" vandalism are in your house. CCTV footage has been examined, and we have positively identified Eliane as one of the perpetrators. We believe that she was aided by A N Other, assumed to be Emma, but we have not been able to 100% confirm this via CCTV. Further questioning of both girls may be needed to ascertain her guilt.
As you are aware, the "pranks", among other things, included the swimming pool being turned purple (with potassium permanganate), the removal of the hockey goalposts to the cloister lawn and the painting of pitch lines on said lawn, the hanging of a banner from the Gym that was unveiled when an unscheduled fire alarm was set off and read "Upper Sixth 2009 Forever!", and, possibly most seriously, the placement of a sheep with a sign saying "Dolly" around its neck in the science laboratories. And of course, we all saw (and smelt) the consequences of a distressed sheep in an enclosed space. Not pleasant, as I'm sure you will agree.
Under normal circumstances, I would propose immediate expulsion for the culprits, meaning they would be unable to take their A-Level examinations, and thus forfeit their University places, but given that Eliane and Emma have had such exemplary academic and behavioural records up until this point, I am reluctant to take this step. Instead I am sending them to you to deal with as you see fit, if they so choose. If they refuse to accept a punishment from you, they will of course be expelled.
Please let me know the outcome of your meeting.
Eliane and Emma have been ordered to attend Saturday detention by their housemaster. Do you think they might get more than they bargained for when they get there? I think they might. If they live to tell the tale, they might even share it with you ;-)
18 hours ago