A couple weeks back I had a few jobs at Pitts Elementary, which (along with Clark) is among the spottiest schools in town. And I was told, from start, that I was being handed a “problem class.” I was excited to discover that I would have not one but two “prep times” while the kids were in music and library respectively. Unfortunately, I had to stay in the classroom through music because a couple kids had been banned from the class and so I had to sit them. But other than that, things had actually gone pretty well. Right up until recess.

When the kids came back from recess, a kid named Lucus was whining that Deric hit him in the hallway. Lucus had alternated between being helpful and being one of the biggest problems in the class. I basically told him that I didn’t see it and so there isn’t much I can do about it. Then I saw Deric with his head buried in his arms, crying. I’m not proud of my inclination to just ignore Lucus, but there it is. Crying kids are harder to ignore, however. Marko and Lucus basically said that Deric cries a lot (along with Lucus reiterating that he was hit by Deric) and that the regular teacher always ignores it. I was less than entirely comfortable with that (with substitute teachers, I guess, crying works better than mere whining). So what happened, Deric? Todd hit me! Todd, did you hit Deric? Todd replies that he’s not getting involved. I tell him he’s already involved. Todd says he only hit Deric after Deric hit him. Lucus reiterates that he was hit by Deric. A neutral party, Marin, says that Deric did not hit Todd prior to Todd hitting Lucus. Marin, it should be said, is the kind of girl that I hope Clancy and I have if we have a girl. So I start preparing what I’m going to say to the principal and am informed (by Lucus, confirmed by Marin) that it’s actually the recess monitor’s responsibility and not mine.

Before I could get this settled, they had to go to the library. Since they were in the library, I thought I would get confirmation that it’s “not my problem.” So I went to the principal’s office with a kid that had been banned from the library. As a brief but not entirely irrelevant aside, when I was walking him to the main office, I got two or three inquiries about What Did Branden Do This Time? In fact, Branden had been well-behaved and helpful throughout. When I got to the main office, I had planned to just ask the clerk, but nobody was there because it was around lunchtime and the office-workers double as food-servers. The principal was in his office, though, and overheard me talking to Branden. He came out and chided Branden, saying that he thought Branden was going to start doing better. Actually, this is not about Brandon. Oh? So then with Brandon’s help, I explained everything and asked if this was something that I concern myself with or if it’s a recess monitor’s responsibility.

The end result was that the principal immediately took control of the situation. He pulled Lucus, Todd, Deric, and Marin out of the library and into his office. Lucus, I gather, quickly backtracked on his complaints about being hit to get out of the principal’s office as quickly as possible. Marin was out once she told him what she knew. Deric and Todd both ended up getting detention, surprise surprise. On the one hand, nobody saw what happened and so it’s difficult to discern (Todd’s story was – or became – that Deric hit him earlier in the day, and so Marin didn’t see it). One might be quick to say that this student is a troublemaker so we should assume he was at fault, but the assumptions about Branden made me particularly skittish about that in the afternoon. On the other hand, when I passed out the detention notices, Deric started crying again while Todd was showing it off to all of his friends. That, more or less, tells me what I need to know.


Category: School

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3 Responses to 4th Grade: Fight, Fight, Fight (II)

  1. Mike Hunt says:

    Schools should just install security cameras in common areas. For those who think that is too much like prison, remember that school is prison…

  2. Mike Hunt says:

    Bumped due to lack of response…

  3. trumwill says:

    Security cameras getting a good picture of the entire playground would be pretty tough. They might be able to get the hallways, though. I wonder if you could successfully psych them out. “Do you want me to watch the video or do you want to tell me what really happened?” when half of the cameras are dummy ones.

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