Mr. Tyler - Student-Council Advisor
(Ep 16 - "Walk Out")
(At the student-council meeting.)
Now, I don't know if the student council can vote to do something like this. Mr. Tyler?
(Mr. Tyler rubs his chin and looks off.)
Mr. Tyler. He was faculty advisor to the student council, but more than that - he was our cool teacher. You know the type. Rides a motorcycle...lets you have class outside on nice days...lacks respect for authority...Everybody waited to see what Mr. Tyler would say.
Like Mr. Diperna says...this is your student council.
All in favor?
Order. Don't forget to sign up for a committee. Meeting is adjourned.
We have to join a committee?
Yeah, come on! There's school spirit, social, ice-cream, jukebox, or walk out. So, what do you say - jukebox?
No, the line's too long for jukebox.
Well, I'd say social, but Nancy Cardian's the chairman for that, and Mrs. Gambino's the advisor. And I can't stand either one of those, so, I don't know - maybe ice-cream...
Which one is Mr. Tyler advisor for?
I don't know. Looks like he's doing walk out.
Let's do walk out. (Shrugs.)
(Cut to walk out meeting. "Hoochie Coochie Man" plays on a record-player.)
OK, pick a card - any card. Alright, now...look at it - don't tell me what it is. Put it back.
(Kevin and Paul approach.)
Hi. What's your name?
Kevin - cut the cards.
(Kevin cuts the cards.)
(Mr. Tyler smiles, and holds a card toward Mark.)
Is that your card?
No? Oh...well, wait a minute. Is that it?
Oh. Well, uh...
(He frowns and pulls a card from his jacket pocket.)
Is that it?
How did you do that?
(Fade to later, as the group plays cards and sings "Tracks of My Tears".)
We did card tricks for about twenty minutes, and then switched to 5-card stud. I couldn't believe it - I'd never known a teacher like this. Mr. Tyler was so cool, you could feel yourself becoming cooler in his presence.
(Mr. Tyler lays down a winning hand. The kids sigh and fold. Mr. Tyler chuckles.)
Alright, Paul - your deal.
When are we gonna talk about the walk out?
Leave it to Mark Hooper to spoil a good thing.
Well, it's about time. Hey - it's not my meeting. (Gestures.)
Oh. OK...well...I think we should talk about the walk out. I think we need a strategy.
OK, so...what do we do first?
Well...maybe you should start by, uh...figuring out how you're gonna mobilize eight-hundred students all at the same time.
Right, right. How do we do that?
Well, that's why we have all these minds here. (Gestures.) What do you think, Rusty?
Good luck! It's not that Rusty Brothman was stupid - it's just that he sort of drifted through life in a purple haze.
Oh, wow. Well, we could just...well, we could just...
(Mr. Tyler nods and stands up.)
Like, you know, uh...I mean, you know, uh...wow.
(Mr. Tyler puts his hands on Rusty's head.)
Think, Rusty, think. Think!
OK - wait! OK! So, uh - OK, I got it! (Smiles.) We all split up, and...
(Mr. Tyler pats his shoulder.)
OK - you can do it. Come on.
And knock on all the homeroom doors to give 'em the signal.
That's it! OK, relax, Rusty. This man needs sustenance. Throw me that orange, Kevin.
(Kevin tosses an orange to Mr. Tyler.)
Here, eat this - build your strength back up.
(Mr. Tyler pats Rusty on the back.)
OK, OK, good! So, so at nine o'clock, we go to all the homerooms, we mobilize the whole school, and then we march out on the football field.
Well, I mean, what is the point of this walk out? How is standing around in a football field going to end the war? Who's gonna know the difference? Kevin?
I-I don't know, unless...
(Kevin looks off, then gets a bright idea.)
Unless we can get on TV, or something - or, or in the papers!
Yeah, wait, wait! That's good, that's good! We could use - we could use the media.
We could - we could write a letter to Channel 5, and we could tell them -
We could get other schools to do it too - like Madison and Whitman...
Yeah! I mean, it'll be like this whole big thing, where all the kids from all the schools -
(Mr. Diperna walks in on the student-council meeting.)
Ahem. Mr Tyler. Could I speak to you for a moment?
(Mr. Tyler joins Mr. Diperna by the door. Mr. Diperna leans closer and whispers.)
Uh, about this walk out...it's gotta be stopped...
OK...Uh, there is something Mr. Diperna here would like to say to you.
Thank you. Mr. Tyler. I'm afraid that Kennedy junior high school cannot tolerate a student-council committee that encourages students to violate school rules. Any student participating in a walk out, during school hours, will be subject to immediate suspension, and, it will go on your permanent record. Do I make myself clear? Your permanent record.
(Fade to "later".)
After the initial shock of Mr. Diperna's announcement, we did what any teeneager would do when his deepest convictions are challenged.
(The group whines.)
It's not fair.
Are we going to do it?
Well, what do you think?
I don't know. I don't want to get suspended from school...
Sounds pretty smart to me.
I think we should fight 'em.
Because we should protest the war.
Um-hmm. Are you guys really serious about that?
Of course we are.
Hmm. Why do you want to protest the war?
Because it's an Imperialist act by -
(Mr. Tyler leans forward on the table.)
Hmm? Oh. I'm sorry, Mark. It's funny - the moment I hear the word "Imperialist", I go into a coma. Can't you just tell me in your own words? What about you, Kevin? Why do you want to protest the war?
I don't know...(Shrugs.)
Ah, so you're just...going along with the crowd.
Seems to me if you don't know why you're doin' something, it can't be worth much.
Mr. Tyler was right. I felt like an idiot. What did I really know about the Vietnam war? I wasn't even sure if "Vietnam" was one word or two.
Is it that you think...all wars are wrong?
Well, yeah! (Shrugs.)
So, you think...nothing's worth fighting for?
Well, no...I mean -
Then how can you sure we should end this war?
Well, it's like...a lot of people are getting killed. You know, like...little kids, and, and their whole families and stuff. And people from over here who are fighting, don't always even want to fight.
They don't have any choice - or they have to go to jail, and...
And, yeah - the thing is, you know, nobody even knows what they're really over there for.
As we all talked, we began to realize that maybe we knew more than we thought we did. Sure - we didn't really know Ho Chi Min from Captain Kangaroo, but we knew that a lot of people were getting hurt. And we knew that it didn't seem to be doing anybody any good.
I-I just think it's wrong, that's all.
OK. So? What do you want to do?
We need a strategy. What's our strategy?
Well, few people are aware of this, but I happen to know for a fact that Paul Pfeiffer here is a great political strategist.
Come on, Paul - you're among friends. You don't have to keep up the cover. Let's show 'em how that mind works.
OK, I think I got it. OK, I think I got it. How about...if we start a petition-drive?
Well, yeah! You know...if we could collect enough signatures, then we could force Diperna to take us seriously!
(Mr. Tyler frowns and shakes his head.)
OK. Maybe it's a dumb idea...
(The student-council has given the petition to Mr. Diperna, but Mr. Diperna is unmoved. Cut to another meeting.)
It's not fair!
Diperna's a jerk.
He can't get away with this.
What about our rights? What about the petition? Over four-hundred signatures!
What's the use of having a student government, if you can't take any action? I mean, what is he - king?
And it's a free country! He can't stop us, can he, Mr. Tyler?
Boy - he was really goin' after the old chin. I was afraid he was gonna rub it right off.
No, he can't stop ya - you can do whatever you want to do. But...you should give your actions serious consideration, because they may have serious consequences.
Are you telling us not to do it?
Was he? Had Diperna gotten to him?
No. I'm not sayin' that. In a way, you're lucky to have opposition. That's the way life is. It's easy to take a stand on something, if there's no risk involved. It's easy to take a stand against the war - so long as nobody asks ya to make a real sacrifice. But...not all of us are ready to sacrifice. Sometimes the...price of acting on our convictions is...too high.
What do you think we should do?
I can't tell you that. Each of you has to make that decision for himself.
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