(Continued from http://minorcelebrity.info/2011/04/i-hatch-a-plan/)
Ms. N (the Pupil Services fixer who was assigned to implement Martin’s new discipline program) seems like the right sort of person for the job: thick-skinned, stalwart, a veteran of many special ed classrooms. She tells me she’s trained in kid-safe restraint and offers to teach me a few safe holds before the meeting even ends. And sure enough, the next day of school passes with no phone calls. When I pick him up his teacher tells me he had two of the new timeouts and that he didn’t like them one bit. The following day is the same.
The third day I get a call from the bowling alley. Martin and his classmates make an outing into the community at least once a week. Bowling is a popular and frequent choice. Martin likes to bowl. Unfortunately, he is also attracted to the pathetic indoor put-put golf course separated from the bowling alley by a long dark hallway with astro-turf carpeting. Martin’s teacher asks if I can come soon. I can.
When I arrive at the bowling alley Martin is laying on the astro-turf. His face is placid. He is raising his voice, speaking sternly. He sounds like me when I am angry with him. “Students can do what students want to do!”
Ms. N is equally stern: “No, Martin. We are not going to go to the golf course.” She is bent at the waist, one hand pinning a foot that is trying to kick her, the other on his shoulder preventing him from getting up. Both hands are shaking a little.
An hour later, his timeout is over (time added for refusing to get on the bus, for kicking Mr. N, for hitting me, for refusing to sit on the bus, for getting out of his seat on the bus, for opening the window on the bus, for climbing on the back of the seats on the bus, for refusing to get off the seats on the bus).
The next day is Friday and Martin is fine. On Monday, he is great, he is on “Green,” he comes home happy.
On Tuesday, I go into the school at 10:30am. Martin is laying on the floor in the timeout room. Ms. N is blocking the door. When he sees me, Martin asks if we are going home. When I tell him I am there for the timeout, he points to the door. “I do not need to be in timeout.” Forty minutes later I leave the school and go through the Wendy’s drive-thru and eat my food slowly sitting in my car in my garage. I return to the desk in my basement. I begin to write an estimate for a new job. I remember to check for messages on the answering machine. There is a message from the school.
The second timeout is a little worse than the first. We need to wrestle him out of a little pink tent. Ms. N gets a kick. Martin spends ten minutes trying to climb into my arms, begging me to hold him. “I will hold you after your timeout is over.” More begging, but a steadfast refusal to sit in the timeout chair. Forty minutes later I hold him for thirty seconds in a bear hug before he starts to climb up onto my shoulders.
I get to spend another hour working at home before I get the final call of the day. It’s his teacher. She’s just calling with some information. Martin took his pants down in gym class and urinated on the floor.
This is just how some stories end.
(This post is part 6 of a 6 post series)