I tell my students that anyone has the ability to behave well for a day, or even a week, but the real test of maturity and growth is to see whether or not someone can consistently maintain that discipline over time. It seems to be the ongoing theme in our classroom—not if the students will revert back to their old habits but when they will revert back to their old habits. Some of our kids last a day, some two days, some two weeks; but it’s only a matter of time until their true character rises to the surface.
For Adrian, it was just over a month.
In earlier blogs, I shared with you about Adrian’s condition (Day 52—Where to Start) and his first meltdown (Day 56—A Different Kind of Richter Scale). Since joining our class, he has shown areas of improvement, but the reality is that he does not have the ability to function in an academic environment with his current mental condition. As November transitioned into December, it was obvious that the sand in his hour glass was running out.
It started with a bizarre incident in class one day. Gabriella randomly turned to Adrian and asked, “Did you pee on yourself?” I thought it was just kids being kids and ignored the comment. However, when she grew more serious and Adrian refused to answer, it peaked my interest. I looked at Adrian’s pants, and sure enough, it looked like something had happened. I took him out in the hallway and asked him about it. He immediately started crying and said, “After I finished my lunch, I put my head down and fell asleep. I got too comfortable, and I peed on myself.” I assumed it was a possible side effect of all the medication he was taking. I offered a few words of encouragement, sent him to the office to get a change of clothes, and moved on with our day. Looking back, that event would start a domino effect that would quickly spiral Adrian out of control.
Adrian would be suspended two days later for his behavior. He was required to serve one day OSS (out of school suspension) and two days ISS (in school suspension). During his two days of ISS, his behavior rapidly declined. He got angry at a girl on his bus and bit her finger; he chased another sixth grader down the hallway and tackled him because he wanted the chips that the kid was carrying; he ripped headphones out of another student’s ears in the front office and slung the kid’s backpack to the floor, and he refused to cooperate and finish his work in ISS.
Things culminated when Adrian walked into class the day after serving his suspension. He asked to talk to me in the hallway, which I found odd because he has never asked to talk to me outside of the classroom before. Once outside, he said, “I’m hearing voices in my head, and they won’t be quiet. They keep getting louder and louder, and it’s giving me a headache.” I asked if the voices were telling him to harm himself or to harm other people. He said that they weren’t saying anything in particular, just arguing back and forth. The desperation in his voice and the tears in his eyes told me that he wasn’t pulling a prank. I sent him to speak with one of our counselors until we could figure out what to do.
Later that afternoon, I received a call from my principal with an update on his situation. Adrian’s dad picked him up from school and took him home. Apparently, his condition only grew worse from there. He began screaming, crying, and pounding his head against the wall to make the voices go away. His dad took him to the emergency room to try and get help, but things did not improve. He ended up attacking his own dad and having a complete mental breakdown. Shortly after, he was admitted to a local psychiatric hospital.
When we last talked to Adrian’s dad, things had not been going smoothly. Adrian was doing and saying so many vulgar things that the female nurses refused to work with him. Four other workers had to be replaced because Adrian abruptly attacked them. At times, his behavior was so irrational that he had to be given a shot in order to be sedated. There has been no rhyme, reason, or pattern to any of his behavior. His dad said that they are hoping to have him home by Christmas, but that will depend on whether or not they can find medication that stabilizes him.
There is only so much we can do to slow down the sands of time. The rest is beyond our control. There are some people that only God can save before the sand completely runs out. I know that’s our prayer for Adrian.
As you celebrate the New Year, remember to pray for those who need a new start more than any of us—those that need to know that there is hope in a better tomorrow. And be grateful for the healthy body and healthy mind that God has given you.
I hope the New Year brings you strength, courage, and inspiration. I’ll see you next semester!