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I don't own any of the characters, except for the ones that I create. The "Boston Public" characters belong to David E. Kelley, Kerry Lenhart, John J. Sakmar, the Fox Network, W.E. Channel, TV One, any other channel where this show is in syndication, and all the other creators, writers, producers and directors of this TV show. But I've written this story, I own this story, and all the others that I write, or have written. Please do not use, copy, post elsewhere, or reproduce it in any way, shape, or form without my permission. Thanks!

Though I am now a HUGE fan of Boston Public, I didn't start watching until sometime around the last season (only after they had moved it to Friday nights) and when it was cancelled I watched the show in syndication on the WE Network. However, although I am pretty much caught up now, if I get some of the background information wrong, please do not flame me. I am trying my best to get all the characters, events, and personalities right, but if I mess up somewhere please understand and hold off on throwing the tomatoes :) ! Thanks!

Summary: This is a short, STAND-ALONE fanfic about Winslow High School Principal Steven Harper's thoughts and feelings in the wake of John LeBlonde's suicide. This story is set after "Chapter Four" (Episode #1.4), and around the time of "Chapter Five (Episode #1.5). If you haven't yet seen these aired (several times) episodes, and don't want to be "spoiled" this is NOT the story to read. This set has DEFINITE spoilers for Chapter Four, and minor spoilers for Chapter Five.

Rating: PG to PG-13. References to suicide, possible profanity. May not be suitable for younger readers.

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They blame me. I can see the look in their eyes. They don't say it. In fact, they tiptoe around the whole subject, trying to not bring it up – knowing that it all could have been different. Only Scott has been able to actually bring it up. The rest of them – they don't say anything, but I still know. They all blame me. I realized that, from the moment Mr. LeBlonde stood in front of me in the waiting room and uttered those words, I knew.

"You know why he did this!" was all he said. But it was enough. The arrow hit the bulls-eye on the mark. He knew and I knew. Those six words and the look in his eyes said it all. It was my fault. His son died because of me. My decision led to this. If I had just approved his application for the Magna Club award, John would still be alive.

I know Lauren thinks that too. I can see the look in her eyes. The silent reproachful glances. "Why did you have to hold John responsible for what the soccer team had done? Why couldn't you just sign the Principal's endorsement for the Magna Club award? Why did you have to adhere so strictly to the terms of the Honor Code?"

But no matter what they say, or might think, I am NOT responsible for John committing suicide. Just because Bob Lick told me that he was a troubled kid, just because I myself could see he was on the edge – especially after he bit off the tip of another student's ear, it does not mean that I could have foreseen that he would decide to overdose on pills. But they all blame me. They do. I can see it.

"If only he hadn't come down so hard, on such a bright kid." But whether he was a bright kid or not, is not the point. It is totally irrelevant. John violated the school's Honor Code. He did not report the soccer team's cheating, and as a result, Malcolm White, and the other soccer players were able to bully and harass Anthony Ward, seriously assaulting him on more than one occasion. They even dangled him upside down from the roof, for chrissakes! Anthony could have been killed, and that would have been on my head. His blood would have been on my hands, his death on my conscience.

But John's suicide was NOT my fault. I have over 1600 students to not only protect and keep safe, but also to guide, nurture and educate. So, when some of them are involved in a systematic cheating conspiracy sometimes I have to be the bad guy. Sometimes I have to say no, sometimes I have to issue detentions or suspensions, or even expel students or fire teachers. I don't like it, but it's just a part of my job sometimes.

Just because a troubled kid could not handle the consequences of his own actions, or in this case, inaction, it does NOT mean that I am responsible for his death. John CHOSE not to report the soccer team cheating. He CHOSE to violate Winslow's Honor Code, and keep silent, even when Anthony Ward was being constantly bullied and attacked by Malcolm White and the other players. John CHOSE to get into a fight in class. He CHOSE to bite the tip off another student's ear, and get suspended. John CHOSE to overdose on a lethal quantity of pills. It was his decision, and though, of course, it was a bad choice, and a devastating tragedy for his family and those who loved him, the thing is, that it was HIS CHOICE, and I am not to blame for his death.

So then, why is there a part of me that feels responsible? That feels at fault for his death. I don't know. Maybe they were right. Maybe I WAS being too hard on John. I mean, after all he didn't participate in the cheating himself. Nor did he take part in the bullying of Anthony Ward. Maybe they're right. I don't know. Maybe I am to blame – if I had not been so tough, and had just endorsed his Magna Club Award, John would not have committed suicide. I just don't know. Maybe I should have foreseen that John would have reacted that way. But how could I? How could I know?

Even Bob Lick, who told me that John was a troubled kid, never knew or told me that he was suicidal. I mean, if the school psychologist and counselor, a specially trained professional in mental illnesses and the emotions of children and adolescents did not suspect that John LeBlonde was on the verge of killing himself, how could I? How could I have known that he was so far on the edge? I should have known though. I'm the damn principal. I should have been able to figure out that I was backing John into a corner with my inflexibility, and seen what the result could be. I should have foreseen that in his troubled, disturbed mind, he'd see suicide as the only way out. Why couldn't I just see it, and find a way to prevent it?

Maybe I shouldn't have denied him my endorsement for the Magna Club Award. But I just couldn't approve him. I just couldn't. There was just no question – John violated the Honor Code, which as principal, I am sworn to uphold. The Magna Club Award is for the student who is the best of the best, the cream of the cream, and however great a student John was, he just did NOT qualify. I mean, it's really a shame that after how hard he has worked all these years, only to throw it all away just by keeping his mouth shut. It's unfortunate, but it was John's choice. He chose to violate the Honor Code, and as Winslow High principal I just could NOT in good conscience, claim that he was the best that our school had to offer. John LeBlonde did NOT deserve to win the Magna Club Award.

Still, maybe I am to blame for John's death. Maybe I'm not. I don't know. I just don't know. But I know that they all blame me. Lauren, and Scott, the other teachers, and students, and John's parents, they all blame me. I can see it in their eyes. They blame me. Maybe I do too.

The End