Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Crazy vs Normal

One of my fifth grade students was taken away to juvy in the back of a police car. It was a crazy day.

Taty joined my class just before Christmas. She's kind of an odd girl, always wide-eyed and sort of spacey. But she seemed nice enough, and although kind of annoying, harmless. Up until today, all I knew was that she lived in a foster home, and had just relocated to this home when she came to my school.

As the days have gone by, Taty's behavior had gotten progressively worse. She became very paranoid and argumentative with other students. There was always someone wronging her in some way, yet, she was always the one doing the talking. She began speaking to me disrespectfully and talking back when I would call her out on a behavior. Last Thursday, I had had enough and asked her to go next door to complete a behavior form. To make a long story short...she refused and the vice principal had to escort her out of my classroom. I was forced to write a referral on her. After having a bad day yesterday and a bad morning today, I figured it was time that I call her foster mom. I had assumed that the principal had already called her last week, otherwise I would have called her before this point.

I asked Taty to come back to the room with me to call her foster mom before she went into the cafeteria for lunch. We headed back to the room, sat down, and made the call. After talking to her foster mom for about two or three minutes, I realized that mom had no idea that Taty had been written up the previous week. I was really irritated that my VP hadn't called, as this makes us all look irresponsible. Nice. I begin to go into detail about what happened, and Taty starts to cry. She screams out, "I hate you!" Her anger is directed to me. She gets up, and storms out of the room. Her mom asks if she should come down to get Taty. I agree that this might be the best idea. Let Taty cool down the rest of the day and come back tomorrow ready to shape up. I get off the phone with the foster mom, and head out to find Taty.

After searching the school for thirty minutes, YES! thirty minutes, I finally find Taty. She is at the front door of the school, and she is talking to her mom who has just arrived. I can hear the mom asking her questions about her behavior. Taty looks up, and spots me. Then she gets up off of the floor she has been sitting on, and darts out the schools front doors. Fantastic.

The mom tells me that she is not going to go after her, that the police can pick her up. POLICE? She says that this is the normal protocol for this sort of thing. We go outside, and sure enough, she is no where to be found. Five minutes later, a cop car pulls up with Taty in the back seat. The police officer just happen to be driving by about a block away and saw her walking down the street. The officer called out to her, and she attempted to run from him! Imagine. He got her in the car, but not before she kicked him.

The foster mom didn't want to let her out of the car for fear of Taty trying to run again. She tells me that Taty has been in four foster homes since August. The system keeps having to place her in different homes because Taty keeps running away. The foster mom decides to call the social worker that is involved with Taty to try to help out. At this point, I had to go back inside to my own classroom. I was told later that the social worker never showed, and through one call and then another...the police were directed to take Taty to juvy.

All of this because I called a parent. I am not real sure how to feel about it all. On one hand, I really feel sorry for this little girl. She has obviously had family issues, and is acting out because of this. Then on the other hand, these are her actions and she must understand that there are consequences. Am I am horrible person for thinking that? Have I worked so long in inner city that my heart is becoming hard?

This is my fifth grade classroom. There are children who have problems with reading, and there are kids who hate math. There are masturbating selective mutes, and students who tell about their 14 year old sisters having babies. There are boys who have never met their fathers, and girls who have already had sex. There is a narcoleptic, and a southern belle. These kids make me look normal. Crazy day? Every day.

1 comment:

joel w. clackum said...

I can completely relate to this. I'm teaching 7th grade in Savannah and some days its hard to know what sane is. Its amazing how the smallest decision escalates into a series of strange events.

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