I have grown accustomed to random surprises in my classroom. And not necessarily the good kind. I am fully aware that at any moment my phone could ring to inform me that one of my students has been kicked off the bus or gotten into a fight or was caught stealing from the cafeteria. It happens, and it happens often. What doesn’t happen often is for me to be making a routine trip to the office only to pass by one of my students in the hallway wearing handcuffs. I guess there’s a first for everything.
Some of my students have an IEP (individualized education plan) for a particular learning disability. Once a day, for 45 minutes, they transition to another classroom for their intervention period. Typically, I’ll escort the students to the classroom, although I’ll allow them to walk back to my room on their own once their class is finished.
Yesterday, I dropped the kids off and started getting a few errands done. On the way to take some paperwork to the office, I saw Matthew (Day 113—A Different Kind of Animal) walking toward me. He was handcuffed and being escorted out of the building by our resource officer. It was a puzzling situation . . . until I was informed of the incident.
Apparently, while Matthew was walking back to my classroom, he suddenly charged toward a kid passing by on the other side of the hallway. He literally picked the kid up over his head, body slammed him to the ground, and continued walking. At that, one of my other students picked Matthew up and body slammed him for bullying the smaller student. Just so absurd.
Because of Matthew’s rap sheet, he was told that if he violently put his hands on another kid ever again, he would be arrested for assault right on the spot. The administration wasn’t joking around. While my other student received minor punishments for his antics, Matthew was put behind bars. Point proven.
I wasn’t bluffing when I said that Matthew was a different kind of animal. That’s the thing about people that struggle with angry emotions—you never know when they are going to snap. I’m not sure what Matthew’s face looked like in that moment, but I imagine that it looked something like the picture of the rhino. He finally charged with a full head of steam, and there was nothing to stand in his way.
The saying should read, “If you mess with the rhino, then you get the horns.” But I guess sometimes you get the horns either way.