Friday, January 1, 2016
In an entry last week, I posted about how Hae could have been coming from Drama when Becky saw her tell Adnan that she couldn't give him a ride because something had come up and she had "something else" to do. In a comment to that post, a reader asked whether Hae would have had time to make it to Drama after class ended (about 2:15 P.M.) and before Becky saw her (about 2:20 P.M.). In response to that comment, the same former Woodlawn student sent me the following:
Reading the comments on that post, I can clarify that the psychology class was in the 3rd floor pretty close to the stairwell by the gym. Just past the gym is the auditorium. It wouldn't have taken more than about 2 minutes to get from A to B. I had time to leave my last class and drive to Wendy's and back and get to drama before 2:30. Woodlawn was pretty small back then. They've added to it a lot since I graduated.
This response is interesting for two reasons. First, it makes it seem like Hae indeed could have gone to Drama tryouts before Becky saw her. Second, it seemed to imply that students could drive away from Woodlawn before the bus loop cleared, which would be contrary to what Sarah Koenig found during her drive test in Episode 5 of Serial. I asked the former Woodlawn student for clarification on this point, and she responded:
If you left class without staying to listen to the announcements, you could get out before the buses. Some teachers were more lenient than others, especially those who taught the magnet students. They knew most of us were involved with after school teams and clubs. After school, students were allowed to park in the front lot right by the gym/auditorium. I know they have since built a football stadium on the back side of the school. And I think a whole new building of classrooms. I haven't been back to visit the school, but I've driven past it a few times.
So, it turns out that this is more of a footnote than a contradiction. Here's Sarah Koenig describing her drive test in Episode 5:
So here we go. We’re at Woodlawn High School, Wednesday afternoon. After school announcements....Okay then, last bell. More than a thousand students fill the halls just like Adnan described in his letter. We figure Hae gets in her car quickly. She’s in a hurry. Okay. It is now 2:17. The bell rang at exactly 2:15, say the fastest she could have gotten to her car is two minutes. So that’s giving the State the benefit of the doubt, right? If she’s really hustling, maybe she can get to her car in say two minutes? Remember her friend Debbie Warren said that Hae had told her right after school that she was in a rush to see her new boyfriend Don at the mall.*
Basically, then, if you left before the school announcements, you could get out of Woodlawn before the bus loop cleared; if you left after the school announcements, as Hae seemed to do on January 13th,** you had to wait for the bus loop to clear.
Anyway, none of this is game changing information, but I think it provides some really important context to the Woodlawn schedule and what could have happened on January 13, 1999. Happy New Year.
*Is this another case of Sarah getting facts wrong regarding Debbie, or did Debbie actually say at some point that Hae told her right after school that she was in a rush to see Don? As far as I can tell, Debbie said this happened at 3:00 P.M., well after school ended at 2:15 P.M. Could this be a case of Sarah concluding (or Debbie telling her) that this was in fact right after school based upon this type of thinking?
**I'm basing this on the statements made by Aisha and Becky.