King Arthur’s Battle
Caitlin Gainsborg and John Infante
INT. ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CLASSROOM - DAY

Andrew, an 8 year old boy, sits at a desk in the empty classroom with his parents on either side of him. His teacher, Ms. Powers, is sitting at her desk.

MS. POWERS
Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg, I know that you’re probably wondering why I asked you here today. Your son Andrew is a very bright boy and he’s very popular amongst his peers; however, yesterday he exhibited some disturbing behavior on the playground.


MRS. ROSENBERG
Disturbing?


MS. POWERS
Yes, well, I was observing him on the playground yesterday and he was being quite aggressive with another group of children. Specifically, he and three other boys were throwing rocks at them from the top of the jungle gym. One of the boys who happened to be on the receiving end of the attack was cut above his left eye.


MR. ROSENBERG
Andrew, is this true?

Andrew, who has been sitting hunched over in his seat, looks sheepishly at his own hands which are tugging at a loose string on his t-shirt.

ANDREW
(Mumbles quietly) We were playing “Knight’s of the Round Table”. I was King Arthur, and we were defending Camelot from the evil sorcerer and his army of mutant swamp monsters. They weren’t rocks that we were throwing - they were magic arrows that Merlin put a spell on so we could defeat the sorcerer.


MS. POWERS
You see, Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg, regardless of the fact that Andrew was playing a game, he injured one of the other children. The school cannot condone that type of behavior from any of its students…ever.

MR. ROSENBERG
Yes, of course, we understand. We’ve been letting Andrew watch some children’s videos about King Arthur, and he’s become quite enthralled with the legend. We can assure you that this won’t happen again.


MS. POWERS
Unfortunately, sir, it’s not that simple. According to the rules laid out by the school district, any student who endangers the general welfare of another student – or students, as the case may be – must serve a suspension from the school in question for a period of no less than one day.


MRS. ROSENBERG
(Shocked) What? You can’t possibly be serious!


MR. ROSENBERG
Now, Ms. Powers, don’t you think that’s a little extreme. He is just a boy, and they were only playing a game. That other child getting hurt was the result of an accident – nothing less, nothing more.
MS. POWERS
Sir, it is our position at this school that if we let this type of behavior continue unpunished, than students will come to see violence as a game.


MR. ROSENBERG
But a suspension? Don’t you think that’s a little drastic?


MS. POWERS
No, sir, I don’t. They could have blinded that young boy. Now, Andrew is not the only one at fault here. I spoke with the other student’s involved and have heard their sides of the story, so I understand that they boys never intended to hurt any one but unfortunately I was required to contact their parents too and they also will be serving a suspension.

By this time, Andrew (understanding that he is in serious trouble) has started to cry. His mother rubs his back, trying to comfort him.


ANDREW
Mommy, we were only playing, I promise! We weren’t trying to hurt anyone – we didn’t mean to hurt Jimmy’s eye. We were just playing pretend!


MRS. ROSENBERG
Ms. Powers, in our home, we teach Andrew that it’s okay to play pretend. We believe that it’s healthy for a child to engage in playing pretend games. It gives kids a chance to experiment and explore. Children can mold the world into a form that they can understand, and it gives them the opportunity take back some control.


MR. ROSENBERG
Andrew was only doing what we encourage him to do every day at home. The way I see it, there are some truly remarkable moral values embedded in the legend of King Arthur, and playing these little games allows Andrew to not only confront them, but understand them as well.


MS. POWERS
I’m not here to debate the moral complexities of King Arthur with you, Mr. Rosenberg. The plain and simple fact is that Andrew and his friends broke school rules, and he must understand that there are consequences to his actions.

Andrew’s cries have started to ebb into little watery hiccups at this point.


MRS. ROSENBERG
(In a pleading voice) Please. Playing “pretend” is an outlet for Andrew – and for other children, too. He’s more outgoing when he’s being a character in a fantasy world. It gives him a chance to connect with his classmates on his own terms. Surely you can understand that.


MS. POWERS
Believe me ma’am, I’m not one to discourage the bonding of students through their shared interests; however, there are safer ways of doing so. Don’t you agree?


MRS. ROSENBERG
Yes, but…


MS. POWERS
Good, so we understand each other.


MR. ROSENBERG
Hold on a minute. Andrew is only eight years old, it’s not like he’s a criminal. Yes, it was wrong for my son and his friends to throw rocks at the other students, but they were playing. We will gladly talk to the parents of the young boy who was hurt and have Andrew apologize personally to him.

MS. POWERS
Sir, the rules are clear…


Mr. Rosenberg:
RULES, RULES, RULES! I’m tired of hearing about your damned rules!


MS. POWERS
Please, sir, there’s no reason to raise your voice.

Mrs. Rosenberg reaches over and touches her husband’s arm in an effort to calm him down.


MRS. ROSENBERG
Is there some other kind of punishment that we can implement so that Andrew doesn’t have to get kicked out of school? Maybe like a…like a community service type thing, except he’ll do it here in the school, obviously.


MS. POWERS
Well…maybe he and the other boys involved could spend a few days foregoing recess and instead they could come inside and clean up the toys and things around the classroom. I don’t enjoy dispensing punishments to children Mr. and Mrs. Rosenburg but Andrew’s infraction is already on file at the principal’s office; the school policy is suspension but as long as issue is resolved I can make an exception.


MRS. ROSENBERG
Thank you, that sounds completely reasonable. Doesn’t it, Andrew?


ANDREW
Yes.


MS. POWERS
Andrew, you understand why you and your friends are being punished, don’t you?


ANDREW
Yes. We were playing too rough and we hurt Jimmy.
MS. POWERS
And you promise not to do it again, right?


ANDREW
I promise. (Andrew starts to tear up again and looks at his mom) I’m really, really, really sorry mommy!


MRS. ROSENBERG
It’s okay, Andrew, we know you’re sorry.

Everyone stands and the adults in the room shake hands as Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg prepare to leave with Andrew.


MS. POWERS
Thank you for coming in, Mr. and Mrs. Rosenberg. I’m glad we could get this situation resolved.


MR. ROSENBERG
Me, too. I just hope we never have to do this again.


MS. POWERS
I agree. Have a good evening.


MR. ROSENBERG
Goodbye.


MRS. ROSENBERG
Goodbye.
Andrew and his parents walk out the door.