For students and teachers all over the country, we’re currently at the tail-end of the semester before a much-needed winter break. It’s the home stretch, no doubt, but before our weeks off, every student must buckle down and finish finals season, whether that student is an AP eighth grader or home at sick with the flu—or, say, sent home because of a district-wide terrorist threat.
Students at Los Angeles’s Theodore Roosevelt High School found out the true meaning of finals season today when, after everyone was ordered home because of an “unspecified, credible” threat, English teacher Cassandra McGrath told her students they would still have to finish their final essay from home. Time reports that the assignment was supposed to be completed in class, but McGrath refused to let the terrorists win: “I don’t like the idea that some terrorist is stopping them from their education,” she told Time. “I just wanted them to be productive.”
I agree. Just today, in fact, I conducted my final fall semester class at New York University, where I teach an undergraduate class called Writing About Popular Music. My students gave presentations of their final projects, where they also presented multimedia such as UK Apache & Shy FX’s “Original Nuttah” video, or pontificated on the sociopolitical conundrum of Kasey Musgraves within the country sphere. I also asked them to email me their final assignments in a Google Document, in case something unforeseen occurred, and we were forced to reach each other off the University grid. All complied.
Ms. McGrath’s students, however, are apparently not so happy to complete their assignments on a day that is marred by a terror threat (and supposed to be an off day). Time discovered some of her students Tweeting their outrage:
“When you have a savage teacher and she still wants you to complete her final even though there’s no school,” one of her students wrote on Twitter. The student deleted the post, but still re-tweeted more than a half-dozen responses from friends and classmates also slamming the teacher as “crazy.”
“We probably dying and s— and she will be like your hands still work there is no excuse,” another wrote, while a third said she was “hating” the teacher.
While it is unfortunate that the students’ internet priv has made it possible for this Savage Teacher to force them to continue their final assignments on the day that they were scheduled to be completed, it is also possible that Savage McGrath’s approach was off-putting. She told Time [emphasis mine]:
“I was thinking about it like Malala,” McGrath told TIME. “No one is going to deny your right to get an education. I don’t want some terrible person to deny you that. It’s your right. No one is going to silence your ability to write an essay for me.”
The threat to the Los Angeles school system was later determined to be a likely hoax, according to a high-up Intelligence Committee Official, but Roosevelt High Students still had to finish their schoolwork. Godspeed to all the pupils, may they cherish every moment and strive for every A.
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