In Mr. Tushman's office, Jack sits and listens to Mr. Tushman talk about expulsion. Jack's mom is there too, looking surprised and angry. Jack refuses to explain what happened, saying that doing so would make things worse. Jack thinks he doesn't want to involve Julian, as Julian will reveal that Jack badmouthed August. Jack apologizes and starts to cry. Mr. Tushman takes a deep breath and says that instead of expelling Jack, he'll simply suspend Jack for the few days before winter break, ask him to write an apology letter to Julian, and allow him to start fresh in January.
Here, Jack learns the hard lesson that being kind and standing up for others isn't without consequences. This continues the novel's project of encouraging readers to think of kindness as necessary and every person's responsibility to carry out, but also to remind readers that being kind is sometimes extremely difficult. Mr. Tushman's leniency suggests he's somewhat aware of what's going on, which offers some hope for adult intervention in Julian's bullying.