Education: Four Minutes to Go

Teacher John Vernon, 30, of St. Stephen's (Anglican) school in Burnley, England, is known for giving his ten-year-olds prickly essay themes. Recently, Vernon told the youngsters that Britain's new early warning radar system would beep just four minutes before the inbound swoosh of a nuclear missile. "Would there be any way of escape?" asked one little girl. "None," Vernon replied firmly as he announced the essay assignment for the day: Describe "My Last Four Minutes."

The kids tackled it with imagination. Wrote Jean Francis: "I would collect my grandmamma in my father's car, and we would set off to get away as...

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