Posted: 13 October, 2009
Disclaimer: I do not own anything in this story that is recognisable from the Harry Potter books, movies, etc. Everything else however (eg. story plot, original characters, etc.) stems from my own imagination and belongs to me. No copyright infringement is intended and I am not profiting financially from this story in any way.
Chapter 6 - Concocting the Contract
"I really think you should choose your staff from within the socio-economic class the school will be catering to," Hermione stated. "Not only will it promote the purpose of the project, but the children will be better able to relate to them."
It was a Saturday night and Harry had been invited over to Ron and Hermione's flat for supper. He had been updating them on the progress of GreenFair. He had already sent out feelers to the underprivileged community about the school, and response had been overwhelmingly positive. Tracey Davis had been arranging papers for Greenfield to take custody of the orphans and foundlings when he was ready. The only thing holding both projects back was the lack of staff, both professors for the academy and, more importantly, the custodians for the children's home.
"The problem with that is that it'll delay everything. You know how much stricter they are about educators since Snape's true allegiances were revealed. All teachers and custodians need to pass background checks and exams to make sure of their suitability to be around children. And you know how those official types look down on the 'lower class'."
"Yeah, but you're Harry Potter," Ron said around a mouthful of food, ignoring his fiancé's glares at his lack of manners. "Your name carries a ton of weight. Just make it clear you don't want them looking down on your people and they'll hurry things right up."
"Ron's right Harry; your fame gives you a lot of sway in these sorts of situations. I know you don't like it, but the alternative is all those children stuck in Muggle orphanages for even longer, and perhaps delaying the opening of the school so long that you have to wait another year."
"It's not that simple," he objected. "I know I could probably have them jumping to it, but what if in their rush to please they don't do their jobs properly? I could never forgive myself if the children got hurt by someone I hired just because I was impatient."
This gave both his friends pause for thought. Conversation was light through the rest of the meal, Hermione discussing her S.P.E.W. efforts and Ron talking about his Keeping for the Chudley Cannons. Eventually they retired to the living room where, five minutes later, Hermione suddenly made a thoughtful noise, jumped up from her chair, and disappeared from the room, mutter book titles as she went. The boys exchanged glances.
"She's having one of her 'I figured it out moments'," Ron said, unnecessarily.
"Wonder what about though?"
Not long after, she returned to the room, one book in her hands and several others floating behind her, pages open and marked.
"Well?" Ron asked. "What's my brilliant fiancé solved this time?"
Hermione gave him a bright grin at the compliment, then a lingering kiss.
"Ahem," Harry coughed. "If you two could continue that later? Preferably when I'm not in the room."
Both blushed to realise they had been getting carried away, and separated, but were otherwise unrepentant. Hermione gave the book in her arms one last glance before closing it, setting it on the table, then waving her wand for the rest to follow suit.
"Well, I was thinking of a solution to your problem with the staff Harry," she said with the smug air of one who knows they are about to prove their brilliance. "But of course I had to check the legalities first."
A moment of silence.
"Yes, it's the perfect answer. Make it compulsory for all staff to take oaths upon hiring, ensuring they won't harm the children."
"I don't know," Harry said, unconvinced.
"Magical oaths are a serious business Mione," Ron said, agreeing with his friend's unease. "What if a teacher hurts one of the tykes, but it was an accident? They could end up a squib or dead for something they didn't mean to do."
Hermione pursed her lips thoughtfully. "A contract then," she suggested.
"Like when we did the D.A."
"Exactly like that Harry. Only instead of a jinx spelling 'sneak' out on their forehead in pimples, make it something more serious."
"Maybe," Harry said, liking the idea. "Can it be made to 'Stupefy' an offender when they break contract, for starters? That way if they're in the processing of hurting one of the kids, they'll be stopped."
"I think I can work that in," Hermione said, pulling out a parchment and quill and scribbling hastily. "Then incorporate a truth spell, so when they're revived they're forced to admit what happened. That should cover revealing instances of accidents, where no harm was intended. Under those circumstances they could be released from the effects and their contract reset. For the long term though, in cases where the abuse was intentional, we'd need some lasting mark. Something to make them stand out so people would know what they'd done," she nibbled on the end of her quill. "We'll have to think on that."
"We could ask Fred and George for some suggestions," Ron suggested.
"That, would be a brilliant idea," Harry said, then asked Hermione, "What would be the wording though?"
"How about…" She frowned in thought before speaking. "I swear that for the duration of my employment at GreenFair, I shall never harm a child, where a child is viewed as a person under seventeen years of age, or else as a student of the school, except in defence of self or others, and then only with the minimum necessary force."
Harry nodded. "Sounds good."
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