Fourth Grade Is Just Murder

, , , , | Learning | December 4, 2017

(My fourth-grade teacher occasionally sits us down in a circle around her and tells us about articles in that day’s paper. She only reads us the articles about murders or other terrible things. She claims that this is meant to keep us safe and aware. Looking back as an adult, it’s hard to tell if she truly believed that, or enjoyed scaring us like they were just ghost stories. One day my mother notices I’m being very quiet in the car after she picks me and my sisters up.)

Mom: “Are you okay, [My Name]?”

Me: *in a tiny voice* “There’s a serial killer on Moloka’i.”

Mom: “What?!”

Me: “Moloka’i is really close.”

(That is exactly what my teacher had stressed to us, and my eight-year-old brain forgets that Moloka’i is another island, and believes that she meant a nearby neighborhood. My mother spends a minute reassuring me that Moloka’i is not that close, and that I don’t need to worry. She then asks how I heard about the killer, and I quietly tell her about my teacher’s practice of reading us the horror stories from the paper.)

Mom: *fuming* “She has no right to be telling you those kinds of things!”

(A second of silence, and then:)

Mom: “Did she tell you about Polly Klaas?” (A murder victim.)

Me: *whispers* “Yes.”


(My mother stormed into the principal’s office the next morning, and my teacher never again regaled us with stories of the murders of kids our age.)

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