The Importance of Setting in This Book
Harrison High School, where Philip Malloy attends school, is in a small town. This is important for several reasons. In most school districts, particularly in larger cities, the school budget does not require an annual public election. The school board approves the budget, and the school board members are elected. This fact makes the superintendent extremely vulnerable to public pressure. Dr. Seymour must do everything he can to keep the press positive about the school system if he wants the schools to be solvent from year to year.
Also, in a larger town or city, or in a more urban school district, Philip would not have been suspended for humming during the national anthem. It is likely that, in a bigger school system, behavior like Philip's would be tolerated. As a result, the scandal would not have gone national as quickly as it did.
Once your class has finished reading Nothing But the Truth, you can open a class with a brainstorming activity. Have your students to divide a sheet of paper into two columns, and have your students list similarities and differences between their school and the school that Philip attends.
Beyond the issue of the small town, the rest of the setting of the story is fairly generic. However, there are some activities that you can do to educate your students about the way that school systems operate.