Monday, April 23, 2007

An Ugly Double Standard (Caution: This post contains inappropriate langauge)

It wasn’t even 9AM yet and some student from my school was being carted away in handcuffs for robbing people outside the school. One of the older school-safety guards came into my class to report the going-ons to my paraprofessional and as a parting remark casually said: “If you kids are gonna mug people, don’t do it in front of the school.” With that one careless comment, the whole day was shot.

“Whaddya mean ‘you kids?’ I didn’t rob nobody! You can suck my dick!”

Normally an adult who worked with emotionally disturbed students wouldn’t be unnerved by a cussing teenager. I’ve only been at it a year, but I’m used to kids who will use the word fuck or bitch like a verbal placeholder instead of um. Instead of being understanding the school safety officer retorted with “Fuck you, ya fuckin’ retard! You can suck my ass ya fucking faggot!” before walking out my classroom door.

And chaos ensued. The student ran out the door to cuss more at the school safety guard, several students ran after him, and the remaining students parroted the aforementioned comments at the top of their lungs. No one was doing their ELA work.

Things got worse as the student’s rage got so big that he couldn’t focus it at anyone, and all adults, including my silent self, were a target. At the end the student was in tears and the assistant principal was making arrangements to get the kid into another classroom. I had to step in, explaining that my student didn’t really start it.

He was shouting “You tell us not to fuckin’ curse at adults, ya’ll violated! Fuckin’ hypocrites!” And while I didn’t support the language I had to agree with the sentiment. And I said so to administration. The AP backed down, the student calmed down half way through the day, and I made a point to explain how I felt about the situation: “I don’t condone inappropriate language in my classroom, from students or adults. He definitely shouldn’t have cursed at you, but you shouldn’t have let him get to you and freaked out.”
I salvaged the situation on the classroom end, but remain unsure of what I could do about the school safety officer. He's been at the school for years and years, and I'm very new. I told administration what was said, and that stopped any further punishment against my kid, but doubt any action would be taken against the officer. If I were to make a big stink I'm pretty sure life would get really tough for me, but I just can't bring myself to explain how unfair life really is to my student.


Blogger 17 more years said...

I have only one thing to say- WRITE IT UP! The AP will deny you ever told him what happened, if it comes up- and then, somehow, you will be part of a "cover up". Put it in writing, hand it in to the appropriate person, and be done with it- and know you have CYA.

Monday, April 23, 2007 3:51:00 PM  
Blogger Clapping the Erasers of the Old School said...

I just stumbled across your blog recently, and I really think you're doing a great job - with the blog, and in the classroom. I, too, am a first year teacher, and I understand exactly what you're dealing with. Our schoolstories are shockingly similar. It's great that you find the humor and make it through the weeks.

Keep on,


Monday, April 23, 2007 5:28:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with 17 more years...cya!

Monday, April 23, 2007 5:42:00 PM  
Blogger Ms. C said...

17, write it up how? What kind of paperwork form is that? And what stops the school safety guard from holding a grudge? It's kinda scary to think that my safety could be in the hands of someone I got in trouble, you know?

Monday, April 23, 2007 5:43:00 PM  
Blogger 17 more years said...

It does not have to be written up with the intention of getting the security guard in trouble (although he should-but that's besides the point-I just want you to protect yourself). My bigger concern for you (although this scenario is most unlikely) is that the child's parent will accuse you of knowing that this student was verbally abused by the security guard, and that your AP will act as if this is the first time he is hearing about the incident. I'm going to check with my CL tomorrow and see what she recommends- I'm thinking perhaps an incident report, but maybe something as informal as a typewritten statement, signed by you and cc'd to your principal, AP, and CL might suffice.

Monday, April 23, 2007 6:47:00 PM  
Blogger Nic said...

I've had monitors come in and get belligerent with students too (although "smartass" is about as crude as they get) and leave me to deal with the uproar, too. Idiots. I can't imagine how much worse that would be with ED kids.

Yet, if I were to step out in the hall to look for one, there's no way there'd be any to be found.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007 6:22:00 AM  
Blogger Teacher said...

I am soo happy that you blog.. it's great that you have this extra support! Isn't it crazy that our students have to deal with extra crap like that... and then you have to deal with it, but can't really don anything about it. Education is such a mess.

With that said, keep blogging and keep going. You know you are helping!

Wednesday, April 25, 2007 4:18:00 PM  
Blogger Mrs. T said...

I had security come into my room after a kid once and basically picked a fight with him- all but said "you want a piece of me?" Crazy.

Friday, April 27, 2007 3:21:00 PM  

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