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Fear & Loathing in Special Education

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Dexter Season 7

Posted 05-23-2012 at 06:10 PM by Speced9

Every couple of years or so, a school will get a student whose name EVERYONE knows, and it's not because the kid's a genius by any means. As the years have gone on, I've also noticed that issues with these children become more and more disruptive, aggressive and pussy-footed around by administrators.

Unfortunately for my beloved school, we hit the Psycho Child Lottery this year. We literally have six new students, all in the same grade level, enrolled at our school this year. It is the craziest thing I've ever seen in my quarter century in the business.

Let me give you the low-down on each of these children. Please note that I am not using their real names. I must also point out that all of them can be very sweet children under certain circumstances, but as you will see in the descriptions below, it's kind of hard to keep that loving feeling (now it's gone….gone…gone…whoa…). Here's the lowdown on our unusual suspects.

Smiley is called Smiley because he's literally enjoying himself to the fullest when he creates havoc for the ENTIRE school. In a way, Smiley has more power than the principal himself. We're thinking about asking Smiley for a raise.

He started out small around October with behaviors such as work refusal and hiding under desks. It was a classic case of work avoidance, and not because he couldn't do what was given to him. From there, he began his own elementary school track team. He is currently holds the school record for the Scream, Bolt and Run. That's not the whole story though. He's a multi-sport athlete. His other sport choices are the Conniption Fit in the 60 lb. weight class, and he's an all-star on the I'm Not Getting My Way So I'll Chuck School Materials at You team.

So, this is a typical scenario for ol' Smiley:

1. Smiley comes to school with mother who doesn't have a clue in the slightest how to parent. She's his "buddy".
2. Smiley refuses to go in the classroom from the get go, or he enters then begins his routine once work is expected of him.
3. When Smiley figures out he isn't getting his way, he usually screams (loud enough to be heard all over the building mind you), throws things around the room (scissors, clipboards, chairs) and then runs screaming through the halls of the school.
4. Crisis team members must then respond which ends up looking like an episode of The Keystone Cops.
5. Once surrounded, he will go into cornered animal mode and begin to lash out with physical assault. Ultimately he'll have to be restrained for one reason or another (attempting to run out the door into the four-lane boulevard our school is on, behaviors that could injure himself/others like climbing up on tables and window sills) and of course, full out assault on a staff member of which I seem to be a favorite target especially for the attempted ear drum rupture.

You'd think we could get a handle on this pretty quick right? WRONG. Why? Because our admins are FREAKIN' IDIOTS who let his enabling, filled with denial and it's-all-your-fault parents scare the crap out of them. The bottom line is this…either a child (hopefully not) or an adult is going to get seriously hurt at some point. Many of us have suffered bruises, scratches that drew blood (and if you got a load of how filthy this kid's fingernails are you'd want an automatic tetanus shot) and the onset of severe migraines (Guess what? Screaming into one's ear is possibly a migraine trigger! Who knew?).

So, what are the village idiots doing about this? Nothing. They've even come to the point where they'll ask us, "What did you do to set him off?"

"WHAT DID I DO? WHAT DID I DO? Oh, darn….Yes, it was my fault. I expected him to sit down and do his work. Then, when he got up, grabbed a pair of scissors to throw, I physically took them away from him. I'M SUCH AN IDIOT! WHAT WAS I THINKING?"

Now, here's the kicker- As screwed up as this year has been, we actually had ol' Smiley set up to go to an alternative program two weeks ago, but then Mr. Enabler, Smiley's dad refused to do it saying, "We aren't doing enough for his son." So, our village idiots are planning on having him return to second grade next year under the idea that "a different environment will change things for him." which translates into "a new place to continue the same learned behavior from this year".

The teachers that have to work (if you call mixed martial arts with a six year old, work) with Smiley have decided that we are no longer tolerating being attacked. If and when it happens again, whether it be this year, or next, we'll be calling the police. As a matter of fact, I've made it known to my principal and Smiley's parents that I won't hesitate to do it myself. Interestingly enough, the principal has made sure that my contact with Smiley is severely limited now. Wow….what a coincidence.

Remember though, Smiley isn't the only part of this story. He's just the gang leader. We have FIVE more just like Smiley (though he is the most severe). His teammates on the Super Villains team are:

Linda Blair's Little Sister
I love this child. Seriously, I do. She can be so sweet, but she is really very mentally ill. You can see it in her face when she leaves the reality of this world and she joins the The Dark Side. Her sweet little face turns into that classic demonic stare and grin and she will literally growl and try to claw you. During one episode, she head-butted me, then spit right in my eye. She too was scheduled to go somewhere else, but rumor has it she isn't either.

The Only Six Year Old Who Has Ever Given Me a True Case of the Heebie Jeebies
Heebie here likes to roam the hallways too and the admins just let him. He is physically aggressive, but he doesn't have the strength to inflict any damage. His thing is a psychological warfare that makes you truly believe that this IS the six year old child who would bring a gun/knife to school and/or come back when he's a teenager and try to gun us down. I've literally seen him being restrained, arms and legs flapping around, then suddenly stop cold. Then, he said, "I'm just going to remember this and come back and get you when I'm older." HOLY CRAP!

NBLMEHM (Nobody Likes Me, Everybody Hates Me)
Another case of work avoidance with this one who is prone to severe temper tantrums that involve throwing chairs and creating a mass ruckus. It's always our fault because "we don't like him." Interestingly enough, he isn't one-tenth as severe or frequent as Smiley up there, but this one is already set to attend an alternative program next year. Hmmm….I wonder if it has to do with the assertiveness of the parent?

Goofy is just what his name implies most of the time, but… he has gotten quite physical a number of times with staff. His enabling grandma (sound familiar) always blames his current medication for ADHD, then makes the doctor switch. He has literally been on at least four different medications this year alone, and that's the ones that I know about. He too was scheduled to go to a behavior disorders classroom next year. We decided to put a one on one attendant with him to finish out the last three weeks of the school year just to keep him in line. Of course, he still doesn't do any work, but the physical things have stopped. Grandma now wants him to go to 2nd grade with the one on one instead of the BD placement. So, we could have yet another returning.

Goofy 2
This guy is very much like Goofy above, but he is the one with the most promising future. We HAVE actually been able to work with him and see improvement. I'm wondering if it's because there has been little administrative or parental influences on this one, and we've been able to do things the way they should be done which is EFFECTIVELY. What a novel idea huh?

So, in case you're not keeping count, here's a basic summary by the numbers:

6 children who are out of their minds

2 IDIOTS for administrators

3 who were scheduled to go into alternative programs next year

2 who could possibly get out of that and return to us for the sequel to this year's fiasco

1 who I believe with all my heart will grow up to be a serial killer and I plan on being a consultant on the Lifetime movie when it's made

1 who I believe we have been able to help this year

12 classrooms that have been disrupted a majority of the year by students who are not even in their class on a daily basis

1 blogging teacher who is calling BULL$%&* on this one.
Posted in Teaching Related , Life As I Know It
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  1. Old Comment
    Angie's Avatar
    Have missed your blog!!!
    Posted 05-31-2012 at 08:28 PM by Angie Angie is offline
  2. Old Comment

    I feel your pain

    Boy, I can sure identify with you on this one. I've been beaten so many times by one particular child that my husband has begged me to quit. This isn't "teaching."

    No one outside the field of education has a clue (or wants one) about what the public school classroom has become. The few kids who actually want to learn can't because of a few certifiable nuts.

    My administrator is the same as your two are--insists the crisis management team handle it and then refuses to do anything about the kid's behavior. She's scared of the parent. My administrator has a backbone like a limp noodle. And a brain to match.

    It's been a very rough and disgusting two years. I'm disillusioned and exhausted. I keep trying to remember why I went into education in the first place.
    Posted 06-01-2012 at 05:21 PM by Deb2 Deb2 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    awakelate1's Avatar

    I hear you, sister!

    We have the same situation at my Title 1 school. Insanity reigns. I could go on a rant about my kids, their parents, and the administration, but I know it is going to be the same next year.
    Somehow, we'll get through and actually teach the curriculum.
    There must be something in the environment making so many hyperactive, OCD, Bipolar, not to mention just plain rude (that's probably home-inspired) kids these days. The 4th grade used to be a much gentler place. These behavior problems are really getting me down, though. It sucks the energy right out.

    I heard the screaming in the halls from Area 3rd Grade, so I know what's coming...yikes.
    Posted 06-26-2012 at 09:14 AM by awakelate1 awakelate1 is offline

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