Zero Tolerance

Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills

Book: Zero Tolerance by Claudia Mills Read Free Book Online
Authors: Claudia Mills
that they lost them, when all the while they were in Ms. Lin’s desk.
    Hatred of Ms. Lin beat an erratic jungle tom-tom in Sierra’s chest.
    Luke idly touched a key on Ms. Lin’s computer, and the screen-saver image—a safari scene—disappeared. Ms. Lin’s school e-mail account was open.
    Suddenly Sierra had an idea so daring she could hardly believe what she was contemplating. It would serve Ms. Lin right to find out what it was like to get in trouble when you were innocent.
    â€œGo stand by the window and watch the hallway,” Sierra told Luke, whispering even though there was no one else there to hear them.
    â€œLet’s go,” Luke urged. “She’s going to be back any second.”
    â€œI’m going to send an e-mail from her account.”
    Luke gave one harsh, hard laugh.
    As Luke stood guard, Sierra began typing.
    Luckily, she had been the fastest keyboarder in the computer skills class in sixth grade.
    Luckily, she remembered the e-mail address by heart for the letters column for the Denver Post ; she had sent the paper half a dozen letters in the past year.
    Luckiest of all, she no longer cared very much about Longwood Middle School’s supposed core values of rules, respect, responsibility, or reliability. In fact, right this minute she no longer cared about them at all.

    â€œShe’s coming!”
    Sierra had just finished deleting the new e-mail from Ms. Lin’s Sent folder, so Ms. Lin would have no way of finding it on her computer.
    She and Luke reached the suspension room as Ms. Lin was unlocking the office door. Sierra dropped down into the chair next to Julio’s and took a few long, deep breaths to force herself to calm down.
    Now that it was all over, she felt overwhelmed with her own daring, and even more with the coolness with which she had executed her revenge. She could have been a master criminal.
    She was a master criminal!
    She, Sierra Grace Shepard, had just done the most illegal and subversive act of her life, an act that even Luke Bishop hadn’t thought to do.
    She was crazy to have done it.
    She was wrong to have done it.
    But it was already done.
    â€œDid you get your Game Boy?” Julio asked.
    For answer, Luke flashed the device before hiding it back in his pocket.
    Then he looked over at Sierra. She knew he wanted to ask her what e-mail she had sent from Ms. Lin’s account but didn’t want to talk about it in front of the others. She’d tell him when they were alone, if they were ever alone. Maybe she’d call or text him that evening.
    It would feel very strange to be calling or texting Luke Bishop.
    Sierra opened her library book, The Diary of Anne Frank . Anne Frank had also known something about being confined in a very small space with people who got on your nerves after a while. Sierra stared down at the page, but it was hard to quiet her racing heart and her scolding conscience.
    So she was relieved when Luke broke the silence. “Here’s a question for everybody. In your whole life, which teacher did you hate the most, and why?”
    Sierra didn’t hate any teachers. The only adult she had ever hated was Ms. Lin, and she had only hated her since last Wednesday. She couldn’t even make herself hate Mr. Besser, remembering the tears she had seen in his eyes after the horrible meeting with her parents.
    Julio took his turn first.
    â€œMrs. Fletcher in second grade. She could never pronounce my name right. She kept calling me Jule-ee-o, like Julius, or Julia. Like, how hard is it to say Hoo-lee-o?”
    â€œDid you correct her?” Sierra asked.
    â€œI tried, but she was really mean about it, like she knew better how to pronounce things than some little second grader, because she was the teacher, not me.”
    â€œMrs. Nolan,” Brad said, going next.
    Sierra knew who Mrs. Nolan was: one of the math teachers who taught the lowest-level math classes, not the

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