In Avi's documentary novel Nothing But the Truth, ninth-grader Phillip Malloy dreams of becoming a professional runner and competing in the Olympics. What seems to stand in his way is his English class and the woman who teaches it--Miss Narwin, who is frustrated by Phillip's cavalier attitude and constant joke-cracking about the reading material.
Originally, Phillip is placed in homeroom with Mr. Lunser, a teacher who likes to crack jokes while Dr. Getrude Doane, the principal of Harrison High School, makes the morning announcements. Mr. Lunser tells Phillip to put away his book while the Star Spangled Banner is being played, insisting that he's the only one who is allowed to joke around. A few days later, Phillip receives a memo from the assistant principal, Dr. Joseph Palleni, that Philip is being reassigned to Miss Narwin's homeroom in order to "facilitate the movements of students, as well as allow for a greater deal of freedom in the planning of Spring term extracurricular schedules."