Sean brought up his textbook to show me a picture where the man looked like Bruce Willis. I laughed. Sean went back to his seat.
Then Sean retraced his steps. He patted down his pockets. He looked under a couple desks. He accused another boy of having stolen his pencil.
Me (without emotion): Did you steal his pencil?
Student (to me): No. (To Sean): Racist.
(Note: both boys were white.)
Sean was starting to get frantic. I knew the pencil had to be somewhere. I asked if it had fallen into his backpack. Sean went to check. He scoured his desk, looked through the textbook and a notebook, and looked under his desk. Nothing.
Someone suggested that it was on the wall. So, Sean turned towards the wall and felt to see if someone had hidden it behind a paper.
That's when I saw it. When Sean's back was turned, two girls gave each other a knowing smile. One passed something to the other, and both feigned innocence when Sean turned back around.
I watched and waited.
When Sean was again distracted, the pencil was passed farther along the back of the class. Sean caught on that the girls had something to do with the pencil's disappearance, but now the girls no longer had the pencil. Sean turned my way.
I pointed towards where the pencil had been headed.
The girl who had it at that point threw it across the room. Sean retrieved it, and then he went back to work.
I suppose I should have been more upset. I would have been, but the class was doing the assignment. They even finished it. It was one of those mellow days where the students weren't that much trouble--at least when they weren't pranking each other.