Little doesn’t give out any additional novels to read or study sheets to look through for her students over the spring break. Those with jobs use their time to get extra shifts instead of studying. For Olivia, spring break is just another week of being incarcerated. Despite being in a locked facility, Olivia continues to correspond with various colleges and applying for scholarships. She managed to convince the administrators at the center to let her use the phone to call financial aid officials and has mailed teachers at Crenshaw to mail her assignments and textbooks. She also wants to take the AP tests in May. Olivia feels forsaken because Braxton, Little, and Julia haven’t visited her in the center.
The county authorities granted the author, Miles Corwin, permission to interview Olivia inside the center. He brings Olivia some novels to read. The facility has extensive security measures. When he sees Olivia in the visiting room, he is surprised because she looks so sad and vulnerable. She tears up and tells him that he’s her first visitor. Little hasn’t written back and Julie only wrote to her once. She is disappointed at the school system inside the center and admits that she still aims to get into Babson College. She is eligible for a $7,000 scholarship if she mailed them an essay. She’s trying to keep positive and thinks that she can go to college in September.
Olivia will earn her high school diploma while in the center. By August, the judge will review her case once more. The judge’s decision will be entirely dependent on Olivia’s therapist, Susanne Dunne. The author spoke to Dunne after Olivia was escorted back to her class. Dunne is exasperated and amused at Olivia because the girl was different from the other kids that she had spoken to before. She told Olivia that she’s going to need a year of therapy before she can get out of the center. Olivia disputed this and reiterated that she needed to get out in 6 months. Dunne mentioned that she wished she had met Olivia sooner, as she knew the girl had a lot of baggage.
On the first day of school after spring break, Little called in sick. Cassandra Roy, the school’s college counselor, interrupted their AP class. She told the students that she can obtain funds for those who can’t afford to pay the $63 for the AP exam fee. On Friday, Little still hasn’t showed up. Half of the class doesn’t attend her class either. Later on that same day, Braxton attends a meeting with administrators to make a plan if in case Little doesn’t return to class. There were rumors that she was planning on filing for disability, but so far, all she has done is call in sick.
Scott Braxton’s father, Frank, always made sure that his kids are getting good quality education. Scott didn’t have much trouble adjusting socially in school, but he was overwhelmed with the demands that came with schoolwork. His parents divorced when he was in the first year of junior high school. His mother sent him to live with his father after she realized that Scott was slacking off in school. He attended Dorsey High School because the black movement swayed him. He was in the eighth grade when his father died of Hodgkin’s disease. He was a good student at Dorsey, but his father was no longer around to push and motivate him. By his sophomore year, his mother became the road manager for the singer Roberta Flack, and would often leave Scott and his sister for long periods of time. He only applied to one college, La Verne College.
Braxton was then hired to teach English at a junior high school in South Central, but after one semester, he received a notice that he’s going to be transferred to a San Fernando Valley school. He managed to thwart the transfer and stayed. After a few years in various schools and programs, he was transferred to Crenshaw. There, he became more involved with his student’s personal lives because of their troubles and had helped countless of students to change their lives for the better.
Braxton lives 2 ½ hours away from Crenshaw and braves the daily commute even if he’s exhausted. This year is his most demanding yet, because aside from being the head of the magnet program, he is also a father. He found out that he had passed the school district’s assistant principal test and plans on transferring to another school in the fall.
None of the administrators had any contact with Toni Little during the week after spring break. The students are getting anxious about the upcoming AP exams, as they know that they need Little to prepare them. The author approaches the principal, Yvonne Noble to find out if Little is returning. Noble admits that she has no clue of when Little is returning. She’s still creating contingency plans with Braxton in case Little doesn’t return.
Little has been so infuriated with the school that she had persuaded a few parents to send their children to other high schools. Some parents were put off by how Little is putting the students in the middle of her personal drama and making their children casualties of Little’s complaints about the administration. On Saturday morning, the author pays Little’s home a visit. She seems frail and vulnerable while clutching her three Papillons. She revealed that she has been on anti-anxiety meds for a few days already. Her stress has been building all year and she just had to rest. She admits that she cries everyday for her students.