Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of teaching a behavior class is that every day is a new adventure. When you think you have heard it all, you haven’t. When you think you have seen it all, you’re not even close. There are always greater surprises and more extreme plot twists waiting around each corner. It’s as if my students are in a competition to see who can perform the most outrageous, dumbfounding, doesn’t-make-a-lick-of-sense act. And they are all winning.
A few days ago, I introduced you to Chardonnay Selina Graves (Day 130—When the Wine Hits). Since she joined us, she has left no doubt in anyone’s mind that she can and will live up to her reputation. If she says she is going to do something, she does it. Come hell or high water—she does it. (At the very least, I guess it’s good that she is not a hypocrite?)
It was our last day of school before spring break, and I was doing everything possible to get everyone through the day (especially Chardonnay). She seemed bound and determined to not allow it. The entire morning, she had been off-task, arguing with other students, parading around the classroom, dropping curse words and subtle sexual remarks, and defying my instructions any chance she could get. Considering every other day that week had been eerily similar, she was on the brink of suspension. And in her case, that would mean starting out spring break locked behind bars. I wasn’t sure if she would push me to that point, but later in the afternoon, she answered any and all suspicions.
It happened in the bathroom, where all great mishaps seem to occur in middle school. Chardonnay had been in the bathroom a hair too long, which was not good. Then I heard her shriek with laughter, which was even worse. Seconds later, a young lady from another class came running out of the bathroom with a bewildered look on her face. I pulled her aside and waited for Chardonnay to come out. And oh, what a story they told me . . .
For no rhyme or reason, Chardonnay had decided to make a “noose” out of toilet paper and threw it around the top bar of the stall door. Then she fit it around her neck and stood on top of the toilet in anticipation. When the other girl had walked into the bathroom and pulled open the stall door, Chardonnay jumped off the toilet as if to hang herself. She collapsed on the bathroom floor with the noose still around her neck, her eyes closed and her tongue hanging out.
Who in their right mind thinks to do this stuff? And as a teacher, how do you even begin to process how to approach that issue? She scared a poor little girl from another class; she simulated a suicide; she thought simulating a suicide was hilarious; she knew that one more antic would land her in juvenile detention, but she did it anyway; she felt no remorse for her actions or what her actions implied. I mean, take your pick. Oh, and I should probably note that Chardonnay has legitimately tried to commit suicide before, which adds another wrinkle into the equation.
After a lengthy heart-to-heart conversation (that accomplished very little), I sent her to see one of our school counselors (which accomplished even less). She then visited our principal to receive her suspension. Chardonnay walked back into our class smiling and mocking every conversation she had just had with our administration. Our school resource officer waited patiently by the door as she straightened the books at her desk, picked up her jacket, gave the class a low bow, and walked out.
Chardonnay Selina Graves, everyone.
Cheers for spring break?