“Line leader is by far the most coveted classroom job,” reported Tolman’s teacher Miranda Lally, adding that Tolman seemed especially excited to be awarded this position of power over her peers. “The second I pulled the popsicle stick with her name on it, I knew it was going to go straight to her head.”
Eyewitnesses report seeing Tolman taking her class out to the playground, as Mrs. Lally had instructed, but then leading them back inside because she needed a drink from the water fountain. Deeming the water “too warm,” Tolman set out for the fountain upstairs with her classmates in tow. She was equally dissatisfied with the quality of water offered by the fountains near the gym, the cafeteria, and the music room.
During her walk, sources confirm that Tolman blatantly ignored her classmates’ requests to stop and use the bathroom. Tolman told peers their trek would end only when she was satisfied and that as line leader, that was entirely her prerogative. She encouraged classmates to leave behind any student who asked to rest, saying that their weakness would only bring down the group. These abandoned children could be seen lying prone on the sides of many hallways. It was only after a fifth-grade hall monitor pulled rank that Tolman was finally forced to stop leading the line.
“Only Becky is capable of something like this,” said Mrs. Lally. “I’ve seen that girl hopscotch, and wow. She has incredible stamina.”
Mr. and Mrs. Tolman promised that they weren’t mad at their daughter, only disappointed.