There was a buzz in the hallway even before I got to history class. Kids leaving the room were all talking to each other, but clammed up when anyone else got close or tried to start a conversation, which was the opposite of the way things usually worked. Most of the time kids leaving a classroom scattered like crows from a gunshot, eager to find a friend who was in another room, racing to find someone that had the answers to the test in science, or pretending to ignore the boy they had been sitting next to in class for the last forty-five minutes. So before I even entered room 110, I knew something was different.
The room was ringed with black and white photos. The anti-war poster still hung in the front of the room, but everything else had been taken down. The photos were at eye level – or what passed for eye level for a group of teenagers who ranged in height from about four to six feet. Each photo showed a single person, with little else in the background. OK, so Mr. Flynn had redecorated, but that didn’t explain all the chatter in the hallway.
He held up two fingers in the V-shaped peace sign that had been finding its way into everyone’s hands over the last few years. Most people held it high as if an end to the war were somewhere up above them if they could only reach it. But lately, I’d seen it flashed with an aggressive jab, like a shout for peace, punctuated with an “or else!” A couple weeks into school, Mr. Flynn had adopted it as his signal for quiet.
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