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On Monday, April 25, the D.C. Creative Writing Workshop, a literary-arts nonprofit, sent out a press release with an ominous title: “Tensions Rise at Ballou High School.” But the advisory’s fine print explained that the “tensions” would result from a May 3 student/teacher poetry slam at the school rather than from mercury, teen murder, or other familiar tragedies. Director Nancy Schwalb says the ruse was born of the frustration of trying to get press for the writing programs at Hart Middle School and Ballou. “It’s a comment on the difficulty of getting coverage,” Schwalb says. But the stunt came at an odd time: following the April 24 death of 16-year-old Ballou student Lavelle Jones. Schwalb says the release was held until the day after the murder to prevent confusion, but the notice still baffled some. “One reporter called and asked, ‘Do you know anything about the shooting?’” Schwalb says.—Sarah Godfrey