Local News Gets Teacher Fired
This is a fictional story for entertainment purposes only. Any likeness to real people, places or events is purely coincidental
Beep…beep…beep…beep….crunch….wham….thump! These are the sounds heard in the bedroom of single mother Marcy Thomas as she goes through her daily ritual of throwing her alarm clock against the wall in honor of a morning that came too soon. She gets up to check on Katie, but like every morning , she is already up and fifteen minutes into her daily hour long beauty regimen. On most days, Mary would make breakfast and read the newspaper while she waits for the apartment’s only bathroom to be teenager free. However, today was a little different… yes her daughter still took forever in the bathroom… and yes Mary still made pancakes and read the local paper. But, it was what she read that made today distinct.
The newspaper’s front page reported that a local man had been arrested and charged with first-degree aggravated assault for his alleged role in brutal beating of a teenage girl. At first glance, Mary only had a normal amount concern for her family’s safety. But, after noticing the name of the suspect, her level of concern shot from yellow to red. The suspect was her neighbor from 4C, James Marshall. James was an odd but seemingly nice man. According to the paper, Mr. Marshall ambushed a high school girl, savagely beat her taking her purse, along with her other valuables. He then fled the scene leaving the victim unconscious in a pool of blood. The entire incident was recorded on a nearby traffic cam. The video was later played as the lead story on the local news later that evening.
Mary didn’t know James Marshall very well, despite the two of them living just a few feet away from each other for several years. Even without knowing much about her neighbor, she found the news story rather shocking. She has had several encounters with James over the years, none of which seemed threatening in the slightest of ways. She also knew James had a well behaved pre- teen daughter of his own, which made it even more surprising he would do something like that. But, Mary read the facts in the article and saw the grainy video from a bad angle and concluded he was guilty. At work, the day after it was on tv, the story was the juiciest water- cooler gossip ever. Co-workers (who never met James) spent the whole day calling James both a coward and a thug. Mary was now more convinced than ever.
James Marshall was released on bail. He was then suspended from his job as school teacher. Only, to be fired three weeks later.
“Attacker Walks Free!” Were the words printed in big bold letters on the front page of the newspaper that several months earlier, reported the brutal attack. Mary ate up every outraged word the article fed her. She quickly shared the same outrage. She would later move out the building fearing she was living next to a crazy man.
The local newspaper reported that a new man was taken into police custody and questioned about the September beating. The article ran on page 47. And two weeks, the same man plead guilty and was sentenced to 15 years prison sentence. That story was printed on page 5 the day the news broke. The local news reported the story that same night, somewhere deep in the 11 o’clock hour after somewhere after another celebrity DWI story and before a story about a cat stuck in a tree. Mary never saw the article or news story. No apology was ever expressed to James Marshall, who is still looking for a job in his field of study.
We need to change the way we report news. Scratch that last sentence from memory. We need to change the way we accept our news feeds. For most people, a news story is information about a recent event. For a select few, it is big business.