Boston Public
Chapter Thirty-Seven

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Today's word of the day is...

Sanctum. Brooke brings Steven a petition to not fire Dick Teachie. "Did every kid sign it?" "Yep. Even Andre." It would be pretty hypocritical of Andre not to, since he's the one who mainly forced the conversation to continue. Anyway, Steven asks Brooke if she signed it. She doesn't really answer. She asks if Teachie's going to be fired, and Steven says he doesn't know. Nobody knows anything this week.

Meanwhile, at Social Services, Ronnie is yelling at some lady, who says she "tingles with the kind of fear that only a civil servant can experience." I guess she's being sarcastic. Nevertheless, Ronnie remains insistent, even though she quickly gets lost in a circular argument about having a job to prove she can have a residence, and having a residence to prove she can hold a job, or something. Eventually, Ronnie solves the problem the way any public high school teacher would: by throwing lots of money at it. She writes a fat check to put up Natalie and her mother in a motel for two months. End of discussion. "This is your cheapest alternative. If you don't give me the chance…them the chance…"

Vice-Office. Harvey comes in. "I hear you went to bat for me. First, let me say thank you. And second…what's the catch." Scott says that there's no catch, that he simply agreed with Harvey: "A teacher must have the right to candor, otherwise his word becomes meaningless. I also agree that you were ultimately serving Winslow with your honesty." But there's a catch to the support with no catch. You see, Amherst asked Scott's opinion on Harvey, and, "suddenly, I found myself in the same dilemma." Scott, like Harvey, chose candor. Harvey doesn't get what he means. "They asked me whether I consider your judgment to be sound. I responded for the most part that I did not…I feel it's only fair I tell you this." Harvey asks if he should stop teaching. "You're being honest. I'm asking you an honest question. Please. Give me your honest answer." Scott says, "You and I have been at odds many times, Harvey. Therefore, my personal opinion shouldn't be dispositive." Harvey asks again. Scott, in the spirit of the episode, says he doesn't know. "Maybe I should teach a course in what it's like to grow old." What does that have to do with anything? The music finds this moment poignant, though.

Sanctum Stevenorium. Dick Teachie comes in. "So," he says, being intentionally flip, "here we are again." Steven starts calmly, but we know how that always turns out. Steven says that he doesn't like when anyone uses the word, black or white, because then, "it stays viable, and the hatred that gave rise to it is rekindled, because it still exists. And I don't want students walking around here using it, mistakenly thinking they can take away its power. It's more powerful than all of us." Dick Teachie suggests that Steven read the book. Okay, did David Kelley write that damn book, or what? Steven's all, "I don't need to read any book to understand my feelings, Danny." Teachie continues to object to shutting down discussion and understanding of it. Steven loses it: "You think you understand 'nigger,' Danny!? Do you!? Do you really think you get it!?" Teachie allows that he probably doesn't, but that he ought to have the right to try to understand, and certainly his students have that right as well. Steven says that Teachie, specifically, doesn't have that right. "Why, 'cause I'm white?" "Yes, my friend…and you don't have the right to stand at the top of a class trying to teach it." Dick Teachie goes into full Michael Rapaport mode and fulminates, "You know, Steven, you want to stop me from standing at the top of the class, that's your right. You're the principal. But what about my students? They keep asking me questions about this. And you want the word taken out of circulation, well, I certainly understand that, but you don't have the power to take it out. You'll never have that kind of power, you know that, right? You're claiming some priority here as a black man, well, I'm not gonna fight you on this, so why don't you do this, why don't you teach the class. My friend." He slams the books on the desk and walks out. Steven looks thoughtful.

Ronnie and Harry in the lounge. "You wrote a personal check?" Poor Harry. Though that Nicky Katt sure is cute, right, Sars? ["From what little we see of him these days, it's hard to tell, but yeah, I guess." -- Sars] Anyway, Ronnie feels like she's an idiot who is making all the rookie mistakes, and Harry tries to be reassuring. "Come on, you've been doing great." But Ronnie is full of self-doubt, so it's time for a student or parent to come in and give a tearful speech about how grateful she is. Natalie comes in and gives a tearful speech about how grateful she is, how she's gonna graduate and go to college, "and I'm not just gonna pay you back. I'm gonna be you. 'Cause…I know it sounds all treacly to say you inspire me. But you do. My mother, as much as I love her, I can't really say I've ever had a role model, you know? But now I've got one. Thank you." Blah. Blah. Blah.

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Boston Public

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