"Gum Control in Mrs. Cali's 5th Grade Class"
Mrs. Cali: Class, for some time it has been school policy to allow students to chew gum in classrooms. However, due to a number of recent incidents here, I have decided to forbid gum chewing in my classroom from this day forward.
Wayne: But, Mrs. Cali, that's unfair!
Mrs. Cali: Wayne, yesterday Tommy threw his gum into Bradi's hair, and I had to explain to her angry parents why it had happened. The day before that, I stepped in gum that a student had dropped to the floor. Also, a quick look last week turned up at least a couple dozen wads of gum that had been left stuck underneath your desks. This has gone too far, and I refuse to allow it further.
Rick (smacking on chewing gum): But, Mrs. Cali, I haven't been irresponsible with my gum. Why should I have to pay the consequences for other people's bad behavior? It's not fair!
Mrs. Cali: I'm sorry, Rick, but don't blame me. Blame those who abused their right to chew gum.
Wayne: I agree with Rick. You're treating us all like bad guys! When Tommy threw the gum, you sent him to the Principal's office. He got the punishment he deserved. But now you would have us all pay for his mistake! You should only punish the bad guys. Besides, the bad guys will still bring in gum and chew it when you aren't looking. When gum is outlawed only outlaws will chew gum.
Bradi: I'm glad for the decision, Mrs. Cali! Speaking as a victim of gum violence, I feel very uncomfortable allowing people to chew while I'm trying to learn. Every day in this school there are at least 32 incidents of gum violence. Kids like Tommy and Rick only care about themselves and don't think about others who could be victimized.
Rick: Bradi, don't you dare lump me in with bad kids like Tommy, just because I chew gum! I'm sorry you were a victim, but it shouldn't cause me to have to pay, too!
Wayne: Besides, Mrs. Cali, it's our right to have gum in school. Part Two of the Student Code of Conduct says so! Ever since the founding of this school.
Mrs. Cali: The Code says, "Students have the right to keep and bear snacks and candy." It didn't specify gum, in particular, and students didn't have today's modern, super-sticky gum back in those days or abuse their right to chew it nearly as often.
Wayne: Yes, but the Student Council recently ruled that Part Two applies to modern gum, and that every student has the right to have it.
Mrs. Cali: Sure, but they also said that individual classrooms could still determine how to regulate it. You are allowed to have gum in your personal locker and to chew it there, but when you step into my classroom, you're not allowed to chew it.
Rick: Well, Mr. Arizo allows it in his classroom, and students can chew it openly there without him saying anything. He's a big supporter of gum chewing. (Rick blows a bubble and pops it, loudly).
Bradi: Sure, but just last week, that crazy boy, Jared, threw gum in the hair of several students in Mr. Arizo's class! His class is one of the worst for gum throwing!
Mrs. Cali: Mr. Arizo is just going to have to clean up the mess himself. Here, I'm not going to tolerate it. As for the Student Council's recent ruling, let's note who else benefits: the concession stand. They get to sell more gum this way. It's not really about the students and their rights.
Rick: That's not what they said. They said it's about Part Two of the Code.
Mrs. Cali: What they say is different from what they think. Just follow the money.
Rick: You're blaming an inanimate object for the bad actions of people. You're just a chiclephobe! Gums don't mess people, people mess people!
Bradi: "Chiclephobe?" Why do you think she's afraid of gum?
Wayne: I and the other students who love gum know full well how anti-gum you guys are. You want to ban gum altogether and take it away from us!
Mrs. Cali: Don't be ridiculous. I never said anything about gum banning, and I'm not afraid of gum! I just want to control it and keep it from being abused.
Wayne: You just want to keep us from exercising our rights! It's discrimination against gum chewers, just like racism!
Rick (pointing at Mrs. Cali): Yeah! Gum-grabber!
Bradi: Stop making wild accusations and name-calling! You're just trying to hijack the debate! How many kids have to have gum in their hair before you admit controlling gum is necessary? You'd think different if you were the one hit by gum violence!
Rick: I wouldn't be the victim, cuz I'd hit them with my own gum first! If everyone chewed gum, the gum-throwers would be too afraid to start a fight.
Bradi: No, don't you see? With more gum chewing there would be more gum-throwing, too, just like in Mr. Arizo's class!
Mrs. Cali: Okay, class, settle down! Now, I'm prepared to compromise. If you want to chew gum, I'll give you a permission slip to do so in my room if I think you aren't the sort to abuse it. If you mis-behave, then I'll take away your permission slip. This is something that several other classrooms do.
Wayne: We shouldn't have to get a piece of paper to exercise our right! Besides, the bad guys won't bother with it and will still chew.
Rick: And who says you're the right person to judge us? It's too subjective!
Mrs. Cali: Rick, no one is a better judge of your behavior than me, in my classroom. And Wayne, this way I can keep track of who is exercising their right appropriately.
Rick: I'd feel very uncomfortable having the faculty keep track of me this way. They'd put me on some secret list and when they decide to ban gum they'll know to track me down, bust down the door of my locker and take all my gum away from me! They'll have to pry my gum from my cold, dead hands!
Mrs. Cali: Don't be so melodramatic and paranoid, Rick!
Wayne: If you issue a permission slip, that's one more I'll have to have, and I have to keep track of them all when I go from class to class. Plus their requirements differ widely. How many permission slips am I going to have to deal with? There should be only one permission slip required, and it should be as permissive as possible, like from Mr. Arizo.
Bradi: No way! A student like Tommy could get a slip from Mr. Arizo very easily, even though he's shown a tendency toward gum violence here in Mrs. Cali's class!
Wayne: I'm going to go to the Student Council and appeal your decision, Mrs. Cali! Gum chewing is a right and therefore shouldn't be regulated at all.
Bradi: They'd be insane to listen to you! Our school is far too lax about controlling gum. Other schools have almost no incidents of gum violence compared to us! Whether it's a right or not, it needs common sense regulation to reduce the rate of gum-throwing!
Mrs. Cali: Enough! For now my rule stands and ....
[Suddenly there is an argument outside the classroom door, then screaming as a boy throws gum into the hair of a girl. Students rush to the door to watch.]
Bradi: Oh! Will the madness never end? We have to do something!
Rick: If only the girl had had gum of her own to protect herself!
Wayne: It's her right to do so, you know!
Mrs. Cali: Okay, class, go back to your desks.... And Rick, spit out your gum!
Rick: (spits gum into the trash, then mutters) Gum-grabber!