I don't know about you, but I've always found the cast of characters subbing at my school to be a casting call from the X-Files. Now I know why!
Announcement Shocks, then Satisfies Education World
Washington --- An announcement from the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), confirmed today by the White House, has left the education world in a state of uproar. “I can’t say I’m surprised, technology can do amazing things,” responded California Teacher’s Association president Barbara Kerr, “but no one really expects something like this.”
Kerr was referring to the ACLU’s revelation that thousands of California's per-diem substitute teachers, those who take a day-long assignment when a teacher is briefly ill, are actually part of a massive, classified cryogenics program run under the auspices of the National Institute of Health. The program was part of the NIH’s Center for Allergy and Infectious Diseases and called the Slowed Subject Reintegration Program or, appropriately, SS-RIP for short.
SS-RIP began in the late 1950’s, with the rise of cryogenic technologies. Patients suffering from terminal diseases classified “near-curable,” where a cure was expected within 10 to 20 years, were lowered into a comatose state and then placed in room with temperatures hovering just above freezing. The combination slowed the patients’ metabolic processes, preventing their death from disease and slowing down, but not stopping, their aging.
When their disease was cured, the patients were then lifted out of their comas, medicated, and reintroduced to society.
Which is where substitute teaching comes in.
“Subbing is really the ideal occupation to reintegrate people into society,” commented NIH deputy director Dr. Norka Ruiz Bravo, who oversaw the SS-RIP program for 15 years, before being elevated to her current post this February. “No one expects these people to seem normal, be consistent with current trends, or even teach.”
“Our studies showed,” Dr. Bravo continued, “that patients did much better when they were exposed to children. The children’s tolerance for curious and inexplicably strange behavior is much higher than adults. The patients could be themselves until they found a way to cope.”
Dr. Bravo also admitted to placing mainly in California because, "deviance from social mores and gaps in expected cultural knowledge was more widely accepted."
The SS-RIP patient records remain classified and no substitute teacher interviewed by press time was willing to admit to being part of the program. Many teachers, however, were more than willing to respond to the news of the program.
“This explains so much,” laughed Michael Wilson, a sixth-grade teacher in Santa Clara, California, a county in which SS-RIP admits it placed many teachers. “I always thought the subs were just crazy. Living in the past because they were a few donuts short of a dozen. Now it makes much more sense.”
Veteran teacher Karin Richards, of San Jose, California, chuckled, “I’ve taught 27 years and never encountered a substitute who wasn’t a bizarro. (sic) I often asked myself, ‘Where do they get these people?’ Now I know!”
Dr. Bravo found the revelation of the program to be no laughing matter. “We were a classified program solely for the good of our patients. Losing the ability to quietly and surreptiously help recovering patients rejoin society is very unfortunate.”
Asked whether there were still many patients awaiting medication and reentry to society, Dr. Bravo responded, “That information is still, and hopefully will remain, classified.”
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