The White Note

Day 11

Today was a pretty normal day. Some classes were better than others. Many, per usual, seemed extra chatty. Mondays tend to be that way. But we got through what we needed to and had some laughs and fits of frustration along the way. Pretty typical day in 8th grade. I even stayed after school and helped out in our tutoring session for students to work on getting their grades up before the quickly approaching end of the marking period. It is crazy that the last 9 weeks of the school year are almost here. But that is for another day.

As I was waiting for traffic to clear so I could turn onto our street this afternoon, I could see my middle son’s bus stopping, putting on the red flashing lights, and him walking up our driveway from a far. My youngest saw him too and gave me a running commentary on what was happening. I was happy to be home not too much after he was dropped off. One of the BEST parts of a teacher’s schedule is being home for my own kids after school as often as possible.

But then, as we pulled into the driveway, I saw he was holding a white paper and had a somber expression. It didn’t look like homework, the writing was small and in paragraphs. My first thought was he got another “white slip.” These are the papers sent home when a student gets in trouble at school. He doesn’t often, if ever, get these so it made sense that is why he looked so upset. I stopped and rolled down my window before parking in our garage to ask what was wrong. He handed me the note. It was not a white slip. It was so much worse.

The letter explained that 2 students in his elementary school had been killed in a car accident Friday evening. One of the students was a boy in his class, a friend. My son burst into tears when I gasped at what I read. I didn’t have many words of comfort for fear of sobbing myself. I just held him, the car doors left wide open, the youngest still buckled in his seat, for as long as he needed. There are no words that would do any good for all the pain that is caused from such a tragedy. I can’t even begin to imagine how the grieving family is coping.

I really wish that paper in his hand had just been a white slip.


  1. Jennifer says:

    Heartbreaking. Truly heartbreaking. You told this story with such emotion and dignity. I, too, wish it was just a white slip. My condolences to you, your family, and your son’s school community.


    1. Sara Royston says:

      Thank you, Jennifer.


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