Saturday, January 26, 2008


I am flabbergasted by events at work yesterday. Why are teenagers so stupid sometimes? Why do they deliberately do stuff that they know is against the rules and do it in front of you?

As most of you know, I work in a junior high. My students range in age from 11 to 15. I have one particular young lady that has been a special challenge this year. The first time she got in trouble and was put in "In School Suspension", or The Hole as its more commonly called, I was shocked. She had been nothing but sweetness and cherry pie in my class. Over the year, I have seen her attitude increase. I had to write her up for walking out of my class and truancy, from then on she didn't like me because "I had it in for her."

Part of my teaching assignment this year has been to help out in the Hole during first period everyday. Most of the kids in there are basically good kids that did something incredibly stupid, and a few are repeat visitors. Well, over the holidays our full-time teacher for the Hole quit, he had found a better job. I wish him the best, supervising the Hole is a shit job for shit pay. Since he left I have been covering during first and third (when I usually have lunch duty).

Now this young lady winds up back in the Hole, this time for taking someone's backpack and running off campus with it during school hours. She is headed for Adapt, an alternative placement school, and is in the Hole until that goes through. This young lady is very lovely and always dresses very nicely. She can be wonderfully sweet, but she hates taking directions from grownups, or suggestions for that matter.

On Thursday, another girl in the Hole makes a comment that she is "waiting for a nigger" and she's not in any rush. Now she used this word to mean boyfriend, not in the racial slur sense. This is a new usage for me, I begin calmly explaining to her that this isn't a good word to use as it originally meant trash. The young lady then chooses to get upset trying to make it sound as if I was calling all African Americans trash. She then utters the word "cracker", a racial slur for whites in case you are not familiar. I request that no one uses any racial slurs in my presence and she begins repeatedly saying "crackers" and claiming she is talking about food, all the while with a sly grin on her face. I send her to the office and have to write the incident up.

Now, Friday morning, I have to escort all the kids in the Hole to breakfast. They aren't suppose to talk, however during breakfast they get a little chatty, though its usually uneventful. This morning is slightly different. Now, its been school policy for years that all medication must be kept in the nurses office, its in the handbook, gone over the first two days of school, etc. This fact is common knowledge. So our young lady is sitting at the breakfast table, holding two pills between her fingers in plain sight, facing them to me, in fact it seemed quite deliberate. I ask her what she has, she says Tylenol. I remind her that the nurse should have them and that the nurse needs a note from her parents to give her the medication. She says she has a note from her parents in her backpack. I have learned enough about this young lady to know that if I ask for the pills she will refuse, and I know she holds me responsible for some of the trouble she has gotten into. I have another teacher stay with them and go to get an administrator, on the way I meet the school police officer and ask him to come down.

The officer asks for the pills, she refuses. He then tries to take them out of her hand, she puts up a fight and ends up with her face on the table and in handcuffs. She proceeds to say "Thank you, stupid-ass Ms. Campbell." It's all my fault, you see. I take the rest of the students back to the Hole and look for the wrapper for the pills and collect her things together. Apparently, it goes downhill from there and she gets arrested and suspended.

Now, as all this happens more information comes to light. We have been trying to get mom in for a conference, but she never shows. It turns out that she has several outstanding warrants. The man they are living with, not sure if he's dad, step-dad or simply mom's boyfriend, is under investigation for drug dealing.

If all this is going on at home, of course her stress level is going to be huge. I'm sure that some of her actions at school have been as a result of this. She probably doesn't get much direction at home either, so is use to making most of her own decisions. I truly hope that her experience at Adapt will wake her up to the path that she is on. Mostly likely this incident will get mom in jail too. She will likely end up in the foster care system. Though I truly hope that she can moved past her current circumstances, I know that it is likely she will end up in the drug world trading her body for drugs, because that is what she has been shown is normal.