The ECHO: Day 2 (Pg 16)


[Image 1: A tall, slender man with floppy hair, an angular face and heavy rimmed reading glasses leans against the side entrance to city hall. Hearing others recount their grievances against D.S.F., he chimes in with his own first hand knowledge:

"I teach at North Acheron. I've worked side-by-side with these kids every day for years. They're good kids. Even the ones that are a pain in the ass. I didn't see anything that would begin to justify their incarceration."

The journalist responds from beyond the frame:

"So you were in the high school when it happened?"

Image 2: The lanky teacher gives testimony to the journalist:

"Yeah. I had classes all morning. I was 3 doors down the hall from where it all started. I helped break up the fights. I heard the gun shots - and I was locked down with innocent kids who D.S.F. have now arrested.

And let me tell you something - The notion that these kids masterminded all this in advance is absurd! The walkout first period was the juiciest bit of gossip to go around that school in months. You could see it spreading across the room in real time. Kids aren't supposed to have their phones out in class, but they all do. It got so distracting I gave my 3rd period 5 minutes to check their phones and be done with it.

In hindsight, that might not have been such a great idea...*sigh* It was how kids reacted tot he walkout that turned things violent. It got political and kids took sides. Easily half my students came here during resettlement. Some still identify as Canadian, and some are just stationed here temporarily. Things got heated fast.

So many of these kids are facing graduation and enlistment in a few months. It's no wonder theuy reacted passionately... The fights were out of line, of course, but everything that happened after was because adults mishandled the situation. We failed these kids. The blame belongs on us.

- - -

INSET ARTICLE: What is Military Parole?

The term "military parole" refers to a program instituted as part of the C.O.N.D. justice system reforms. In order to promote nationalism and reward service to country, non-violent offenders are given the option of voluntary military service instead of incarceration. Each day served on the front lines counts as two days off a prison sentence.

Enrollment in the program was virtually nonexistent in the first two years, despite lengthened sentences and mandatory minimums. A "surge of interest" in its third year has seen the prohram fully populated ever since, promting many to question how much choice the prisoners really have - expecially as it coincided with a dire need for troops on the South American front.


5:00 PM

D.S.F. officers clear press and onlookers from the scene as forensics vans arrive. Those resisting are threatened with arrest. People yell slurs at the officers as they leave.

News crews record growing unrest among families still waiting at the reunification site.

7:45 PM

A large D.S.F. presence is witnessed outside a residential building in the Parkdale area just south of the river. The building is believed to be the residence of prime suspect Revel Rhodes. Witnesses saw no evidence of anyone being taken into custody.

6:00 AM, Wednesday, Sept. 13

Local news broadcasts inform us that no students have been released overnight. Interviews with family members reveal that they have had no contact from D.S.F. and have not been able to confirm the health or whereabouts of their children, despite rumors of injuries and deaths.

9:20 AM

A statement from the office of Acheron Schools Superintendent, Fionn Connely, announces their regret as they confirm that two students were killed during the riot at N.A.H.S. The details of their deaths are not released at this time due to the ongoing nature of the investigation.


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