Runt by Nora Raleigh Baskin Read Free Book Online

Book: Runt by Nora Raleigh Baskin Read Free Book Online
Authors: Nora Raleigh Baskin
Ethan’s father had a lot of sayings, like: Where there’s a will there’s a way. Why put off until tomorrow what you can do today? Trust, don’t test.
    In a very simple way they made sense, and Ethan would nod his head and listen, but all the while he knew his father didn’t have a clue about what life was like in middle school.
    There is your story and there’s my story and then there’s the truth, his father would say. This was just another version of the famous, There are two sides to every story.
    But he was wrong.
    Ethan’s father was a banker and he worked with loans, and factors, and numbers, and numbers always added up the same way. People didn’t.
    Yes, Matthew Berry slugged Stewart Gunderson square in the face, but that wasn’t the truth. Not all of it, anyway.
    Yes, Stewart Gunderson had it coming. He deserved it. But that wasn’t the whole truth either.
    And yes, the whole student population was alerted to the incident within a matter of wireless nanoseconds, and that was getting a little closer to the truth.
    Matthew was sitting somewhere in the school, waiting for his parents to show up, so they could listen to the guidance counselor relate her version of the truth, which would have been formed with no empirical evidence, but rather, preconceived notions and hearsay.
    Or maybe it was just the opposite.
    Maybe Mrs. Meadhall was suspending Matthew based solely on empirical evidence, without any consideration of the situation or the backstory of the people involved. After all, Stewart did have a bloody nose and no one could even see the urine that had dried on Matthew’s shoes anymore.
    Ethan had no idea, but he knew it was unfair.
    Life’s not fair, his father would say.
    Really, Dad? I didn’t know that .
    Have you been to middle school lately?

    TO: All Student Classes
    FROM: Jennifer Sansone, Director of Guidance
    SUBJECT: Anti-bullying agenda
    Our newly implemented “Bully Box” will sit in the outer area of the main office, next to the sign-in book on the left end of the counter. It will be completely anonymous, unless, of course, you choose, as we strongly advise, to put your name on your entry. The forms to fill out will be in a tray to the right of the box itself. Pencils will be available as well. All valid complaints will be carefully attended to, but remember, there is a distinction between telling and tattling.
    To clarify: Tattling is about wanting to getsomeone in trouble, whereas telling is about doing the right thing.
    We trust our middle-schoolers to know and respect the difference.
    Jennifer Sansone
    Your name:
    Today’s date:
    Please check one:
I am being bullied.
I have observed someone else being bullied (bystander).
    Bully’s name:
    Date of event:
    please describe the event in as much detail as you can (use the back if necessary):
    Other witnesses:
    When complete, put this sheet in the Bully Box in the front office for review by a school administrator.

    Freida was a strange name to begin with, so maybe it was natural that it belonged to a strange girl. But “strange” was a strong word, wasn’t it? Surprising or unusual in a way that is hard to understand? No, Freida wasn’t really hard to understand. She was different because she wanted it that way, and that’s what was surprising.
    â€œWhy do you have to dress like that? It’s like you’re just asking for it.” The words flew out of Nadine’s mouth.
    Now, Nadine might have seemed like an unusual or strange name as well, but Freida’s sister could have been the poster child for fitting in. If there was a National Month of the Normal Child, Nadine would bethe spokesperson. Even her own mother would have a hard time picking out Nadine in her

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