Amidst the crisis of COVID and struggles throughout the world, some like to think of the Frederick Gunn School as a safe haven—but that is no longer the case. Our campus is in a state of war.
Places that used to be bustling with life are now found barren and empty as students hold to their own dorms for safety. Tables and chairs made to bring us together have been stolen for self-defense. In front of the Gunn dorm, there is a growing barricade of this furniture to defend what the boys living there hold most sacred: the ping-pong table.
The ping-pong table was once a symbol of peace and unity, found outside the science building for all to use. But when students and faculty members awoke on the morning of April 9th, it had disappeared. “I was walking out of the science building, and my heart stopped. it was just… gone” described a sophomore boy, who wishes to remain unnamed for his own safety.
It started as just the ping-pong table, but as tensions grew higher a wall of defense was quickly built. Students have watched in fear from their windows as two-man teams of boys marched into their outdoor common rooms to ravish their furniture and resources.
“Me and a few girls were just hanging out on the steps of Van,” described a senior girl who witnessed a similar event, “we thought we were safe, y’know? Stick together, that’s what they told us at the school meeting, but it didn’t stop them.” Our source paused, having to regroup from the trauma of the event, before continuing: “there were two of them, they came up, and they just picked up our bench without hesitation.” The dorms surrounding the quad have all had similar experiences, including tables from outside Brinsmade, the tent from Gibson, and even a Christmas wreath to top it all off.
The boys have sent out a list of demands, but meeting these requests would be at the expense of other dorms. So far all negotiation attempts have failed, except for one. “They needed bug spray,” reported another female student who lived across the quad, “they sent it out in email. We needed bug spray too, but we thought that maybe if we gave them what they wanted, they would stand down.” Some argued that there was no reason to play nice, to walk over there and take what had been stolen, but our source decided it would be best not to provoke them.
As the girls approached the frontier, the Gunn boys immediately became defensive of their territory, wanting a quick hand-off and the girls surrendered. They were outnumbered by far, but still stood their ground. The tradeoff? The bench for the bug spray.
It was a little victory, but it was enough at least to inspire further acts of bravery. Witnessing the patio and tables in front of Brinsmade where students once worked on their studies together became desolate and empty to the benefit of thieves, and a faculty member had to step in. Walking to the barricade alone was a great risk, but the end justified the mean, as once more a two-man team had to carry the table back to its original home.
When it comes to the Gunn army, however, the triumph would never go so smoothly. While the table was returned, a rotten banana peel was returned on top of it. Getting the bench and table back was a win, but it came at a cost. Students were forced to give up more of their own resources in exchange to get back what was already theirs, and in the case of Brinsmade tables the resources came back disrespected and defaced.
There are rumours of an uprising, a camp infiltration to take back what the Gunn boys have stolen, but the battle is unlikely, as some students still fear for their lives when walking past the barricade to the athletic fields. Still, getting back the bench and tables was a light of hope amongst the darkness. That hope may remain, but as of right now it seems unlikely, as even teachers can’t handle control over what they call the “Gunn Furniture Crusade.”
Besides just the physical barricade, the most difficult aspect to dismantle is the raging Gunn nationalist behaviors amongst the boys. The key to the war is the table. The table is what the barricade protects, but also what holds their army together, and without it, their empire will fall.