Here’s something new for this week’s Rainbow Snippets. I’m trying to get started on a new ghost story set in two very different schools. Here’s Raj, one of my protagonists, explaining how things start going wrong at one of the schools. It’s rough, because I’m still trying to find Raj’s voice and still working out the details of how Peter went from here to a very posh and very haunted country boarding school. Sadly, all of these bright ideas came from schools I know and some of them are the reasons why my colleagues now work with us instead.
We had a new headteacher, our third in five years, and this one had ideas. Some weren’t bad, like the redesign of the website and inviting local businesses to sponsor relevant departments (“Never English or Maths,” Peter grumbled on the last time he came out to Friday drinks, “because clearly we’re not sexy enough.” Then he hit me on the back as I choked on my pint). The new admin block was a nice idea, especially as it also included a new media centre, (“Why not a new library?” Jenny lamented so eloquently the next week that only I noticed Peter wasn’t there). The new uniform policy was the one the kids I worked with hated the most—some study had claimed schools that strictly enforced traditional uniforms got better results, so it was out with polo shirts and in with blazers and ties, which enraged parents enough to get us into the national media briefly as educational scandal of the week (I was sympathetic, though wise enough by then not to say so—uniforms are expensive and a lot of our parents couldn’t afford the cheap basic we’d had before, let alone this). What the outrage police didn’t know was the other half of the policy, which put any kid in the wrong uniform in lunchtime detention. With so many kids suddenly deprived of their lunchtimes, they had to be separated into multiple rooms, which meant an extra rota of staff duties suddenly landed on department heads and other senior teachers (like Peter, who had never been one to linger over his pack lunch at the best of times).
Rainbow Snippets is a wonderful little Facebook group in which writers gather every weekend to post a six-sentence peek at one of their works. All genres are included but the snippets must be from books with a LGBTQIA+ protagonist.