"He was shot."
Students like to come up with over-the-top reasons why their teacher is out. I've heard all the stories, from being fired to being dead. Sometimes the details can be quite elaborate. And generally the student is just making the story up.
How did I know that the teacher I was subbing for today hadn't gotten shot? It seemed unlikely. I've subbed for this teacher many times before, and his room was set up just as it's always set up when he's out. I had a lesson plan. The work was neatly stacked. If he had been shot, then I would have found a whole different situation in class.
Most of the time, I have no idea why the teacher is out. And honestly, I don't care. Once I covered an English class for a teacher who was spending the week in Hawaii. That was a whole week's worth of work for me. All that really matters is that the teacher is going to be out.
Today, I was grateful for the work. And when the boy said that the teacher had been shot, most of the class didn't believe him anyway.
When their teacher returns tomorrow, any lingering doubt will be erased.