Monday, May 4, 2009

Safety? Without Suspensions

Teaching a third period class I tried to take away Alea's tech deck - a mini skateboard that the kids are obsessed with which are ultra-annoying because they click on the desks while you are trying to talk/walk/think/breathe and they get to drive you nuts. So I went to take it from this girl who has never done an ounce of work and generally devotes a good portion of every day to annoying me and disrupting class. She refused (obviously, why would she just listen to me? just because I am their teacher? an authority figure? never!), and i pulled her desk away from her in the hopes of it falling to the floor where I could grab it. She was fast and grabbed it, not letting it fall to the floor, and she then treated me to a barrage of lovely comments from the girl. "I'll fucking deck you. I'll stab you, lady" and I, of course, ever the polite one, asked gently for her to repeat herself. "I'm sorry, what did you just say?" "Did I stutter? I said I'll fucking kill you - don't touch my fucking table." "Oh, that's what I thought you said..." and I marched off to the phone to call the Dean, who miraculously arrived within minutes and took her out. I wrote down what she had said and handed it to him, and he left and called her mother.

When he returned he said that her mother was coming to school, and I was glad to hear it, thinking I would be able to get Alea in further trouble (obviously at this point in the year I am far beyond expecting there to be actual, concrete repercussions mandated by the school for threatening a teacher). So you can imagine my surprise when I discovered that rather than me getting her in trouble, Alea was claiming that I had hit her! Any allegation such as this must be investigated, so despite the absurdity of the claim, statements had to be taken from other students in the class (all of whom readily wrote that no such incident had occurred).The dean and assistant principal were surprisingly supportive, and by the end of the day the whole incident was put to rest and even her mother had realized the falseness of the story.

However, she is really the winner here, because she threatened a teacher in front of a class and then, rather than be punished, she distracted from that issue by accusing that teacher of hitting her. In doing so, she was able to temporarily put my job into question and also to avoid any concrete punishment for what she did. I’ll see her in class on Monday, and life will go on as it was before, only she will have a bit more of a sense of empowerment, and the other kids will look around and learn from what she did.

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