Thank you to the school committee for having me. You may know me as the woman whose son killed the math teacher. But I would rather you think of me as Marissa, your neighbor.
The pressure started in preschool. I told him I’d take him out for ice cream if he got a gold star, and that if he didn’t, I’d beat his teacher within an inch of her life. A simple joke, I thought. But children don’t get jokes. And I did buy him ice cream, I’m not a monster.
In my son’s defense, Mrs. Rice did tell the students to meet her after class if they had concerns about their grade. My son simply chose to meet her while she was sleeping, and vulnerable. Maybe if the school taught more conflict management instead of addition we wouldn’t have to be here today. ‘Conflict Management’ seems like an easy class. My son would excel at conflict.
I don’t blame Mrs. Rice. But even when I hired someone to take my kids' tests for him he got the answers wrong. Sure, it was my boy’s father, but he’s street smart. You gotta be tough to get graded on a curve.
No, Mrs. Rice was as pleasant as she was afraid of grade inflation. And my son was equally afraid of not living out his wild Kappa-Gamma college dreams. How was I supposed to know Mrs. Rice only passed her favorites, the smart kids, in this day and age?
And so, mourning here today, let’s not forget to celebrate. No more math, school gets out early. More time for Karate lessons, Krav Maga, knife art, or whatever your kids do. Though we are sad to see her go, Jefferson Elementary School treads proudly toward the future.
I apologize to the family for your loss. Thank you.