Bookstore crises begin students’ deep passion for social justice issues

A rush of prepubescent voices, crackles and crinkles of processed food bags, the straps of computer cases sliding off of a 5’1’’ frame in manic sprints: could this be anything other than the popular Westminster bookstore? Both Middle and Upper School students frequent the area through all times of day, even at one in the morning, purchasing their survival essentials: Pop Tarts, more Pop Tarts, maybe a fudge brownie Pop Tart, and Vitamin Water if they’re feeling adventurous.

“The bookstore truly is a symbiotic business,” said bookstore manager Laurie Jones as she hurriedly typed a bunch of numbers into the computer. “The students eat from our supply, and we eat from their supply of their parents’ money. Oh wait, symbiotic is the wrong word…I must be thinking of all those biology conversations I overheard from juniors! Silly me. Anyway, we have food here.”

The bookstore, especially for the Middle School students, is a safe space equipped with everything the human heart could ever desire: Pop Tarts, Vitamin Water, and Vera Bradley bags. This April sees a dreadful time, though; the bookstore is closed for a brief but undecided amount of time.  While a group of students surreptitiously commuted through a secret network of underground tunnels, they reported the bookstore staff having a five-star meal and Zumba class with President Obama.

“It was dope,” said freshman Charlie Benedict.

Last November saw a bleak time of Westminster life – an eruption of chaos, a chorus of wails echoing through the Middle School halls. The bookstore went under a similar renovation at that time (for the installation of thrones for the bookstore workers with plaques noting them ‘queens’), closing for five days. Kids went on strike: their eyes gaunt, their stomachs seizing with hunger. Eighth graders rallied together a protest equipped with megaphones and pointed sticks (chiseled from the wilderness at Tull Hall) and stormed the bookstore doors, chanting “Pop Tarts for life!” so loudly that history teacher Dave Drake had to bike over to the bookstore to see what the ruckus was all about.     “I’m glad I’m retiring before they get to AP European History,” said Drake, rubbing his forehead in disappointment. “But hey! I got a free Pop Tart and a head start on my daily workout.”

Drake’s intervention didn’t stop the protests.

“It is so unfair that our school takes this from us, even if for a week. They don’t understand we need the bookstore to live, to breathe,” said eighth grader Lily Dolan vehemently. “The familiar layout of the interior comforts me, gives me nourishment and my daily bread. I’m Christian, and Jesus told us to take our daily bread, and that’s what the bookstore gives me. It’s religious abuse to deprive me.”

A Channel 2 news reporter, determined to expose the underbelly of Westminster scandals, recorded those students’ statements.

A coalition of young men painted their cheeks green with a red slash in the center, mirroring the attack on their lives by the green-themed school.

“I need my snacks or else the chicks won’t come to my locker,” said suave eighth grader Paul Weathington, displaying his large collection of Pop Tarts to blushing, giggling girls.

These protests lasted the duration of the five days, marking a dark history that the bookstore would be conscious of for a long time. As for the upcoming renovation, president Keith Evans is taking the proper steps to prepare for the onslaught of rabid middle schoolers demanding Goldfish.

“For the closing of the bookstore this April, we have set up barricades around the perimeter, preventing any student from breaking the glass with lacrosse sticks, as happened last year,” said Evans. “We are also training the students with shock collars and trackers that send a burst of pain whenever the term ‘bookstore’ is used for malicious intent. The parents have been notified.”