Prez's classroom. As he sits at his desk with his lunch spread in front of him, Prez is nicely telling Michael that if he has a personal issue that keeps him from, for instance, staying for a detention sentence, he needs to tell someone; people want to help him, but Michael has to ask. Michael remains guarded, but nods. Prez tells him he can go back to the cafeteria -- "or hang up here." We see that Prez has come up with his own plan to reach out to the stoop kids: several of the nerds, geeks, and brainiacs are eating lunch in his classroom, chatting quietly and reading. Prez looks up to see that Dukie is sitting alone, scribbling or drawing and without any food in sight, and calls him over, kindly lying that he packed too much, so he was hoping Dukie could help him out by taking some. Poor Dukie, as usual, is too desperate even to pretend to be proud, and he bites into Prez's sandwich not ravenously, but almost...decorously, wanting to savour every bite. Prez watches him for a moment, and then gives him a hall pass and some change, telling him to go to the cafeteria and buy himself a drink. Dukie thanks him and takes off, and once he's gone, Prez calls Crystal over and asks what Dukie's deal is, saying that he gave Dukie some new clothes, and expected.... "He might've lost them," says Crystal immediately. Prez can't believe Dukie could have lost them already, and Crystal explains, "It weren't that. His people take his clothes, sell it on the corners." Prez thinks she must be kidding, but she's not: "Everybody knows." You know, I am horrified when I watch this show by the horrors human beings are capable of that would have never occurred to me in a million years. Living in this show must be so much worse.
Somewhere in the main office at Tilghman. Parenti, with Bunny behind him, is starting to lay out their idea of separating the stoop kids from the corner kids; Bunny asks Withers who at North Avenue they should talk to about it. "The Puzzle Palace?" cracks Withers. He essentially says that he knows Bunny and Parenti want to help, so whatever they want to do is fine with him, and that Donnelly will help them with specifics. The receptionist comes in to get Withers to come deal with a situation, and he heavily gets up, sighing wearily that he has kids fighting in school because their mothers can't get along. I guess that's what happens when middle-school kids have high school-aged mothers. Anyway, before leaving, Withers thanks Bunny and Parenti: "It'll be the only time anyone in this system will think to say it." Withers is seriously barely out of the room when Donnelly quietly says, "He's a good man. You need to protect him...Principal Withers just went out on a limb for you, and in this system they know how to handle a chainsaw." Parenti doesn't get it, I guess because they don't have ass-covering or politics in the post-secondary arena, and Bunny explains, "Anyone has a problem with what we're doing, it's on him." That said, Donnelly turns to her roll, saying that they have 256 eighth-graders, of which 240 or so attend regularly. By her estimation, forty of those would qualify as corner kids as Bunny and Parenti have defined them. Bunny terms that number "pretty workable," but Donnelly does a stagy throat-clearing and gives them kind of a twinkly look, and Bunny asks what she would suggest. Donnelly recommends that they start with ten, and that Mrs. Sampson will be able to choose them. Bunny asks whether any of the ones she's thinking of is Namond Brice, and Donnelly confirms, "Pick of the litter." She adds that he won't be able to join right away, since he's been suspended for three days. Bunny and Parenti smirk at each other like, "Well, of course he is."