I teach in a state where each morning we have a minute of silence mandated by law following the equally mandatory Pledge of Allegiance. Over the years, I've found most students to be pretty compliant to both requirements. Ours is a very international community, but even kids who are foreign citizens stand respectfully, and some of them even recite the pledge. If ever there's a problem, it's with that minute of silence-- sixty seconds of stillness can be quite a challenge for certain eleven-year-olds.
A couple of weeks ago, I was shushing one of the usual culprits, when he piped up to ask why we even have such a thing. (Mind you, he's been exposed to this routine since kindergarten. Did the question really only occur to him now?) "It's a state law," I told him when the minute had ended. "So, technically? Every time I ask you to be quiet during it, you're in violation of the law."
"What? Are they going to arrest me?" he asked. A couple of the other kids snickered.
I shrugged. "You could probably get a fine or something. I'm not really sure. Should we ask the resource officer?" I looked around the room at eleven suddenly wide-eyed children, and laughed. "I'm just telling you that the minute of silence wasn't my idea. By law, we're supposed to be quiet."
We moved on to whatever we were doing next, and I forgot about the whole thing until today. A student in another class came to my desk looking like his business was very urgent. "Is it true that you threatened to call the police on your homeroom if they wouldn't be quiet?"
Now that's how rumors get started.