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Amberlee Amberlee is offline
 
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Gr. 6 boy bringing knife to class (Very long)
Old 10-08-2009, 05:06 PM
 
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Just wanted to share what happened to me recently as it has been on my mind. I wonder what you would have done and what the policies for your elementary areas/schools are.

I took an elementary school grade six position for a Friday (never an easy day to sub as you all know). It was in a good area so I was hoping it would be a good day. The teacher had planned carefully and laid out all the lesson materials for me nicely photocopied. Then, the kids came.

Right from the start it was: "Are you the sub today?" "I will be your teacher today" I responded. (I remember us discussing answering that question before). They filed in and sat down and I introduced myself, my attention signal, the day's outline on the board, etc. Then I started them on their first assignment. It was okay, although they were a bit chatty. So I used my attention signal to get their attention. It took over two minutes before they all stopped talking, put down their pencils and looked to me. I went over appropriate response to the 'signal' and they all listened silently. Then we got back to work. Throughout the morning, every time I had to get their attention it would take anywhere from 1-3 minutes before I'd see all their eyes. I told them they were wasting their time, and I looked at my watch to take minutes off their lunch. To finish the class story (before I explain about the boy with the knife) -- in the afternoon after our lunch discussion, I said that if they listened to me in 30 seconds or less they'd get to end the day a minute early. This worked REALLY well! I was amazed. I had all their attention and peer support in the afternoon. Who knew? Just really wanted to stick to my guns on that one.

Anyway. The boy with the knife.

So after recess during a French lesson, I looked up from where I was getting a stack of papers and there were ten students clustered around one boy's desk. "What is that?!" "Why do you have that?" Obviously something was up. I went over to see what was up, shooing the other students back to their desks and assignments. At first he played innocent but I had my hand stretched out waiting for the 'item' fully expecting a deck of trading cards for Pokemon, or some hidden food snacks or something. He suddenly reached into his desk, took out a Swiss army knife, put it in my hand and said "Here. You have it and you can keep it. I forgot I'd left it in my bag."

WHATEVER! You don't forget you bring that to school and THEN bring it to your desk to show other students. Thankfully, he was calm, and not making further disruptions.

I confiscated the item, told him we'd talk later, got the other students settled and back on task and put the item safely on my desk (like I've done in the past confiscating water guns, etc).

Several minutes later all the kids went off to my prep (band) and I went in search of the principal. Took me forever to find her, but I asked her school policy on bringing a knife to school. She said "Thank you for bringing this item to me. You made the right decision." I said, "What is your school policy?" She responded "Don't worry I will handle this situation." "Is there anything you want me to do?" "No, I'll take care of it."

So I went back to class and prepared for the afternoon. The student returned from my prep with the rest of the students and spent the day in the class, until partway through the afternoon when the principal stopped by to pull him out and talk to him in the hall. After a conversation he returned to class and sat at his desk for his assignment. I never heard from the principal what she had said and the boy finished the day in my class.

I later heard from another teacher that several students in that class had 'violent outrage' problems. What! Why was I as a substitute not informed of these potential issues? They didn't think I 'needed to know'? They 'forgot' to mention it while making their other lesson plans?

Long story short: This was my first experience with this. And it was in an elementary school. I tried my best to handle it but suspect maybe next time will be different.

What are the policies where you are? Have you experienced this before?

P.S. The school called to ask me to return for this class the following Monday but I turned them down as I'm currently sick with a throat infection. So at least that is some comfort. But I'm not sure I'd want to return.


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the schools I've subbed at...
Old 10-08-2009, 05:17 PM
 
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sometimes I didn't find out important MEDICAL info until I rummaged through the teacher's "Sub Folder."

I would ask before going into a classroom if there are any important things you need to know, behavior-wise or health-wise. A kid could have seizures, another is diabetic, another needs an epi-pen. You also have the right to know about "violent outrage issues" also! They definitely should have told you. If I caught anyone with a knife....I'd stop everything and call the office. Have someone escort the kid back to the office. You could go to another teacher and ask them for advice on what to do also.
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No Tolerance
Old 10-08-2009, 08:01 PM
 
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Around here, we have no-tolerance policies in place for weapons in the schools. This HAS happened before at the 3rd and 4th grade levels, and those students were immediately suspended and referred to the school board for review for permanent expulsion. In one of those two cases, the student was permanently expelled from the school district.
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Eric
Old 10-08-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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It's true-- I was very surprised to see the boy back in the classroom afterward he talked to the principal, as if nothing had happened. I thought for sure they'd actually do something. Maybe they just didn't tell me?
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tsk tsk
Old 10-09-2009, 06:46 AM
 
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I think you handled it right. It is sad that the principal didn't answer your question. All I can guess is that she misinterpreted it - thinking you were asking about the child and not the general policy.

I would have done exactly what you did. If i returned to that room, knowing that child's history I would ck his desk before he arrived in the a.m. and I'd take a peek in his backpack as well just to avoid issues later in the day.

our dist has zero tolerance policy. the knife would have meant 3 day suspension.


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Suspension not good enough
Old 10-09-2009, 12:07 PM
 
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In my opinion, a three-day suspension is not good enough. Students bringing weapons to school should be permanently expelled. I am grateful that one school district follows that procedure here. It happened to a first grader - no questions asked. He was gone from that school district forever.
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Old 10-09-2009, 03:55 PM
 
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yes, we "supposedly" have a zero tolerance policy for weapons...it's basically get caught get suspended (I don't know how long)...I don't know if automatic expulsion is the answer either because whet if that kid that was kicked out goes to another school with such issues and gets caught and kicked out again?
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