Near the end of a difficult day (week, actually) with a difficult student, I was tired. I was trying to help a group of students who were still struggling to identify and add coins and at the same time challenge students who were ready for story problems, and still monitor this student for unsafe behavior. Through the course of this day he: put the large (thankfully, plastic) jar of coins from our coin drive on his head, stole money from that coin jar, threw letter tiles, kicked another student (his best friend in the classroom), made farting noises during group discussions, destroyed pencils, wrote in books, and of course, refused to do any actual school work. Each day this week I’ve been able to get him to do about 10 minutes of work (not in a row).
This second grader is reading at a kindergarten level and is unable to do basic addition or subtraction without counting on his fingers. But, he can play Black Ops II and tell you what happened on Family Guy last night.
I’ve met with his mother. I’ve implemented the behavior plan the office asked for. I’ve sent discipline reports to the office. I’ve sent home the behavior charts each day (keeping a copy for myself since I realize they will never reach Mom). Still, by day’s end he is completely out of control. No one else in the room can learn after 2:00pm. Perhaps I should simply dismiss the class an hour and a half early.
All of this has been frustrating enough, but the last two days, things have escalated. Thursday, he put his pencil in his hand like a gun and shot me for twenty minutes. Friday morning, after I asked him to stop banging his pencil against the heating vent he laughed and said he was going to take that pencil and beat me with it. With an hour left to the day, in response to some request by me, he looked at me calmly and said, “I’m going over my cousin’s house this weekend and we’re going to find where you live and kill you.” I told him that would make my daughter very sad, turned and walked to the phone and called the office. “I need a student taken out of my class.” I recorded the incident on the very long list of incidents I had recorded that day, made out an official discipline report, and tried to carry on with the rest of my students.
Yes, I understand this child is only eight years old. I also understand that he has been exposed to things well beyond his years and to people who should not be with an 8-year-old. And frankly, I do not feel safe.
The child was never removed from my classroom that day. He packed up and got on his bus. On my way back into the building from dropping my students at their buses, the School Counselor said she was not able to get a hold of his mother to come pick him up but that he would not be in school on Monday. I was too upset to even ask about Tuesday.