Mr. Hundert is all too aware of what kind of a person Sedgewick Bell really is. A boor and a bully, this son of a powerful and influential senator has an air of entitlement about him that makes him think that he can do whatever he likes. This includes brazenly cheating on an annual Roman history competition, a public event attended by Senator Bell and numerous other worthies.
Hundert knows full well that Sedgewick Bell cheated. He also knows that the right thing to do would be to call him out for his transgressions, even if it would antagonize his old man. But in the event, Hundert lacks the courage to do so, even when he's given an opportunity to talk with Senator Bell.
During this telephone conversation, Hundert resolves to do the right thing and confront the senator about his son's cheating. But it soon becomes painfully obvious to the teacher that he simply doesn't have the character to do so. What's more, Hundert is painfully aware of the fact that Sedgewick Bell realizes this.
The sad fact is that Hundert is one of those people who know what to do but lack the courage of their convictions. As a result, the entitled, overprivileged Sedgewick Bell gets away with his bad behavior, confirming him in his belief that, due to his family's wealth and influence, he's untouchable.