(continued from http://minorcelebrity.info/2011/03/at-least-they-cant-kick-him-out/)
In late January it started up again with a message on my answering machine. “Mr. V this is Martin’s school calling. Martin’s teacher has asked that you come down and pick him up.”
I’m fuming in the car on the way to get him. Why can’t a staff of three, trained in special ed handle one little boy? Isn’t education compulsory in the US? Don’t the kids have to go? When I taught high school one of my students lit another kid’s hair on fire. The next day the boy was in the disciplinary school across town. All day long. Sure, they kicked him out of my school, but he still had to go to some school.
I compose myself as I walk into the building. I’m not going to vent my frustration on them. There is a problem and it needs to get solved first. The secretary directs me to a room across from Martin’s normal classroom. His teacher is standing near the door of the full-sized classroom. She smiles warmly but weekly at me. Martin is sitting cross-legged, placid on a table twenty feet away. The contents of a laundry basket full of legos are scattered across the floor. Four of the other tables have been crudely re-arranged into a wide semi-circle with the gaps between the tables filled in by chairs. In the corner of the room a bookcase lays flat on its face, dozens of books are sprawled, lifeless on the floor. I’ve never seen anything like it.
Martin looks up at me and uses his Buddy the Elf voice to say, “Dad! Are we going home now?” “I’m not sure, Martin. What’s going on here, buddy?” He starts pointing around the room at each of the tables. “I have to do the Sucker Punch, and then Big Balls, and then the Trampoline Sweepers, finally the Fling-Set.” “No, Martin, you are not going to do Wipeout anymore today.” “But I HAVE to do Wipeout.” When he makes no move to actually use his improvised obstacle course, I turn to his teacher.
She seems like her normal upbeat, in control, friendly self. I say, “Wow. Tough day. What happened?” I don’t feel confrontational anymore. “We came in here after he hit a student several times forty minutes ago. He started out doing his work, but pretty soon this (pointing to the room) happened.” “I can see why you called. Well, lets get this cleaned up.”
“Martin, it’s time to start cleaning up.” “I will NOT clean up.” He stands up on the table as I start to walk toward him. “I know you don’t want to clean up, but you must.” He jumps down and darts around me. He runs straight at his teacher and kicks her in the shin. She winces and puts her hands out to protect herself. Before I can get to him he has hit her in the arms and stomach several times and landed at least one more kick. She looks like she’s trying not to look horrified and helpless.
I pull him away from her and sit him on a table. He starts in about Wipeout immediately. Saying exactly what he did when I arrived. I turn to the teacher and say, “I’m sorry. I’ll get him to clean up and then let myself out.” She smiles and leaves.
Ok. I get why they want to send him home now.
(This post is part 4 of a 6 post series)