At Mingus Springs Charter School, things are getting back to normal. Dawn Gonzales, the school's tan, charismatic principal, survived one hell of a first year on the job. (Rodreick's infiltration occurred soon after a passenger died in a collision with a Mingus Springs school bus in October.) After a tense emergency meeting with parents"Some of them were pretty aggressive," she recallsshe's got the kind of confidence that stems from knowing it was her staff that took just one day to halt Rodreick's long, meandering deception.
Julie Bradshaw, the counselor who called the police, thinks it was divine providence. "So many things had to fall into place," she says. Rodreick's homeroom teacher, Lori Morgan, a sharp-witted mom with long brown hair, even got a bouquet of daisies from one of the parents, thanking her for keeping her daughter safe.
But Morgan has found it difficult to erase the memory of the day she spent with Neil Havens Rodreick II. The day after detectives put Rodreick in handcuffs, a fellow teacher found Morgan alone in her classroom. "I'm just standing there," Morgan says. "I didn't know what to do. I didn't want to touch anything. I feel like we were invaded." So the two of them quietly slipped on long rubber gloves, mixed up some bleach with water, and began swabbing everything down. They threw away the tray where his papers had been. They scrubbed the blue cubby where he'd kept his backpack. Then Morgan plucked the assignment folder where she'd written casey price out of the wire mesh file and let it fall into the garbage bin.
By the time the students arrived for class that morning, the smell was so bad that they had to keep the windows open all day. "If I could burn it all down and rebuild the room," Morgan says, "I would."