Every student added to our classroom goes through their own version of a “honeymoon” phase. They seem to think that if they prove they can be good for a week, or two, or three, then our principals will regret the decision they made to place the students in an alternative setting and promptly return them to the regular classroom. But that’s not reality, and watching our students discover that reality is like watching Bruce Banner turn into The Hulk. It happens slowly, then very fast.

Davion was Bruce Banner for five days before his muscles stretched and his clothes tore and his skin turned green. It started with annoyed mannerisms and heavy sighs; then it transitioned into mocking things I would say and refusing to complete assignments; it furthered with using inappropriate language and antagonizing other classmates; finally, Carlos admitted that his brother had gotten a girl pregnant, to which Davion replied (referring to Carlos’s brother), “My man’s pull-out game was weak!”

So that was that. After much patience, reinforcement, removal of privileges, classroom accommodations, private mentoring conversations, and trips to the counselor, we suspended him. And in our classroom, every time you get suspended, you get to meet the judge and most likely get locked up. With Davion’s rap sheet, most likely is most definitely.

I was not upset about the suspension. We always try to maintain a good balance of working with our students and showing them grace while still holding them accountable for their actions. So the suspension itself was not sad. But what happened afterward was tough to swallow…

When our officer on duty called Davion’s mom to come pick him up, they found out that she had a warrant out for her arrest. The call went out around town, and soon after, she was picked up by the police. Then, they called Davion’s dad to come pick him up, but when he showed up at the school, they found out that he also had a warrant out for his arrest. He was taken out with Davion walking behind him, crying and cursing out our officer. In one day, mother, father, and son were all locked up.

You can blame Davion’s behavior on an isolated incident two years ago where boys beat him up and made him urinate on himself, or you can look in the mirror.

And people wonder why kids turn out the way they do…

-WMM

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