Students typically exit my classroom in one of two ways: sporting a new class schedule or sporting a new pair of handcuffs. The system is pretty black and white, really. If you accept responsibility for your actions, abide by our policies and procedures, and work at becoming your best self, then you will eventually earn your way back into the regular classroom. On the other hand, if you continue displaying the same destructive pattern of behavior you have always shown, refuse to comply with our methods of discipline, and reject the help we provide, then you will inevitably be locked up. It’s your choice.
But what happens when a third option presents itself?
A few weeks back, I shared with you that Adrian was being placed on emergency homebound (Day 116—Hitting the Reset Button) to better evaluate his physical, mental, emotional, and academic needs. I received a call last week that the time had come to meet with Adrian’s parents to discuss his progress in the last month and a half. I walked into the meeting yesterday expecting to hear about essays that he had completed, reports written by his in-home therapist, psych evaluations performed by various doctors, and testimonies from parents comparing and contrasting different aspects of his behavior. But I heard none of that.
What I did hear was that even though Adrian lives with his mom, his dad has physical custody over him. And since his dad lives outside of the city limits, Adrian cannot attend our school until a custody document is produced verifying his mother’s address on it. There was no need to discuss anything further, because legally he was not technically a student at our school. In the span of fifteen minutes, Adrian was forced to transfer to another school.
Just like that, he was gone.
I always imagined that Adrian would go out with a bang. Like, an actual bang. That maybe he would snap one day and demolish my classroom or evade arrest from our officer or beat up a group of unsuspecting students using only the jawbone of a donkey—something on such a grand scale that the state would be forced to take action and admit him to a psychiatric hospital. But in the end, it wasn’t medicine, or hearing voices, or erratic antics. It was a blurry line in the sand.
As it turned out, his grand finale was not so grand at all. Actually, it could hardly be called a finale. It was more so the end of an era, the closing of a chapter, the last great odyssey.
It was a mere spark in what once was, and will always be hailed, as a fascinating fireworks display.