Thursday morning as Collin got off the bus at school, he saw something that he didn't think he would see for a long time yet. He quickly got out his cell phone and made a call.
"Mr. Ken", said Collin, sort of out of breath.
"What is it, Collin? You sound as if you saw a ghost," Mr. Ken replied with a laugh.
"Bro, I just got off the bus and, and … I didn't think they could get back in school."
"Who couldn't get back in school? Who are you talking about, Collin?"
"You know! Those guys who … who harassed me. They are all here! At school! Now!" a worried Collin got out.
"Ok, Collin, listen, I'll call Bill and ask him what is going on, and when you get back this afternoon, I should have an answer for you."
"Can I call you at lunchtime, Bro? I really need to know why they are back here."
"Collin, I can understand where you are coming from, but until I can get in touch with Bill, I can't get him to find out the answer. And if he is in court all day, I may not even get the answer until later tonight. Okay, young man? Try to stay calm as you can and don't go near them unless you absolutely have to. Find Ryan and Conner and the rest of your friends and hang with them, the best you can, and I will see you when you get home."
"Thanks, Bro. I was really scared at first when I saw them all standing there and I just had to call you. I guess I sounded like a … a scared kid there, didn't I?"
"Collin, we can discuss that, too, when you get home later, but I bet they will be on their best behavior, because that would only get them suspended for the rest of the school year. Now go and get with your friends, and we'll talk later."
"Yea, you're right. … And thanks again, Bro, Mr. Ken. … I love you, Bro!" And with that, Collin closed his phone and went looking for Ryan, who was just then looking for his best friend, Collin.
All around the high school that day, the talk was about the four juniors and seniors who came back to school and who had been identified as responsible for the harassment and eventual hospitalization of Collin. The most notable thing was that Rodney Costa stayed away from all of them. People knew that Rodney was on some sort of probation, and he wasn't supposed to associate with those guys, but they figured he would as soon as they returned. Rodney proved them all to be wrong. Rodney not only stayed away from them, but he made it a point to avoid them all day long.
That afternoon when Collin got back from school, he hurried to Mr. Ken's study, but found it empty. He was anxious to find out what his Bro knew about the four guys coming back to school, but now he would have to wait. He got out his phone and was about to call his mentor but he thought better of it. He knew his Bro would tell him what he found out as soon as he did, and he knew there was no reason to bother him. With that, Collin went upstairs to his bedroom and began working on his homework.
It was around six o'clock when Mr. Ken, along with Bill Jackson, came up to Collin's room to talk to him. They found the teenager sprawled out on his bed, curled up into a 'fetal' like position, as though he had cried himself to sleep.
"Let's not wake him, Ken," said Bill Jackson. "It looks like he really needed the sleep."
"If we don't wake him, he'll be really mad at me, and besides, if we don't, he'll have a difficult time going to sleep later tonight."
"Collin," Ken Thomas said as he lightly shook the boy's shoulder. "Collin, it is time to wake up. Bill is here to talk to you about the boys at school. Come on now, Lil Bro, it's time to get up."
Collin slowly stretched out and blinked his eyes at the bright overhead bedroom light. Then with a yawn and a "Hi" the teen sat up in his bed and reached for his shoes and laced them up. That gave him time to wake himself up and let his eyes get accustomed to the bright light. When he was finished with his shoes, Collin stood up and gave Ken a hug and then gave one to Bill, too.
"Did you find anything out?" was the boy's first question.
"Yes, Collin, Bill did and we thought we'd come back here and eat dinner with you and talk about it together. What do you say to that?" asked Mr. Ken.
"Yeah, I guess that will work. I am kinda hungry, and seeing we can eat and talk at the same time…" and as Collin said the last part he began one of his sly smiles which got him into a head lock with Mr. Ken.
"Eat and talk at the same time, will you?" teased Mr. Thomas. "Let's see how you like this!" and Ken began to mess up Collin's hair as he tickled him.
Collin began to laugh hysterically and squirmed out from his guardian and tried to tackle his Bro to the bed. The two of them tussled for a few minutes, and both of them were laughing at one another. Bill just stood back and knew this was what Collin needed. The lad had been through 'Hell' and needed all the 'loving' and closeness his protector could give him. Bill unconsciously thought what would happen of they ever found Collin's grandmother and the boy was made to go live with her. He hoped that time would never, ever come.
The three of them worked their way down to the kitchen, where Momma Maria had a wonderful dinner waiting. They dug into their meal and the men waited for Collin to begin asking the questions he wanted to know the answers to.
"Mr. Ken, what did Bill tell you were the reason for those guys to be back in school?"
"Well, why don't you ask him?" said Ken, as he laughed. "Bill is sitting right here." And with that said, both he and Bill began to laugh.
"Oh, sorry Mr. Jackson, I am so used to it only being Bro and I at dinner that I forgot my manners and that you were right there. So, can you tell me why those guys were allowed back in school, today?"
"Well, Collin, it is this way. Since the School Board has done such a bad job of writing and enforcing Student Policies and Guidelines, the boys' lawyers were able to get them reinstated because of that. It is a long and complicated turnaround of events, but that is what happened in a nutshell," answered Bill Jackson.
"So what can we do about it? Anything?" asked Collin.
"For right now, Collin, we can't do a thing. The boys' lawyers got a court order reinstating them back to school, complaining they were missing too much school. The judge agreed and the boys were back in school," answered Bill.
"Was it Judge Adam who signed the order, Mr. Bill?" asked the concerned teen.
"No, it wasn't. I don't think he would have and that is why I believe the lawyers went judge shopping. We all know which judges are easier to get stuff through and what they will allow. So those lawyers didn't do anything that I wouldn't have done if I were in their shoes. We'll just have to now place more 'heat' on the School Board, since it appears they are doing everything they can to delay implementing any sort of rules concerning harassment and intimidation throughout the School District.
"By the way, that reminds me, Ken, have you got any response to your call for candidates to run in the spring elections. We may need them to run and win so we can get what we want and need in this District. You see there, Collin that is an example of getting things to go your way. We run candidates that support our position and they get elected and we lead them to take the actions we need to effect good change in our schools."
"Actually, Bill, I do have a few people who have contacted me about running. I have their names and some background info on them. I also have my guys checking on them as well. I would like to have five or six people to choose from to support in each of the upcoming School District and Hospital District elections. The more people interested, the better chance we can get them elected, because it shows they care. But we need to hurry. We only have until close of business on the nineteenth to get their names registered and on the ballot. After that, we can begin with the signs and campaigning and everything else. This is going to be one hell of an election. Those guys will play dirty, but I will match them step for step until I blow them out of the water. Just wait and see!"
Collin called Ryan with Bill's answer, but they knew there was nothing they could do. They both agreed they needed to get with the rest of their friends and make some sort of plan. They talked for a few more minutes and before long, Collin was back in his room, fast asleep.
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