4:32 p.m. - 2005-02-02

100th day of school. Groundhog day.

Admittedly, I knew about the groundhog, but hadn't a clue about the hundredth day of school. I mean, I was aware that the day was approaching, but no one bothered to give us a a specific date. I doubt it would have even mattered anyway, because even as a teacher, I have absolutely no idea why this is such an important event.

So my class didn't do anything in celebration of our 100th day. To be completely honest, we didn't get jack shit accomplished today, because every other second I was fussing at a different student. After 6 1/2 hours of begging, pleading, yelling, threatening, phoning parents and sending kids to the office, I finally said to hell with it and sat down on a desk and let them do whatever they wanted. Surprisingly enough, that got their attention (though only for a few minutes). They're not used to Mrs. Dreamer being quiet.

Speaking of quiet, I'm relishing the brief period of silence that I have until Alan gets home. I've heard enough screaming for one day--one of my boys screamed at the top of his lungs for thirty goddamned minutes because I was trying to get his mother on the phone.


To their credit, the rest of the kids handled the situation very well. A few of them covered their ears, some put their heads down on the desks, and the others watched in horror as this maniacal child kicked, screamed, fell out on the floor, banged his head against the wall, beat on tables and desks, and tried to tear apart the built-in bookshelf.

After 15 minutes of the shit (and not being able to get ahold of anyone), I'd had enough. I pulled out a referral form and started writing. Instead of quietening down, he just got louder and more violent. Midway through, I tried calling the office again (the line had been busy the whole time I was trying to get someone to remove the crazy kid from my room before he hurt someone other than himself) and finally got an answer. I plugged my finger into my free ear and asked that someone give me an alternate number for him.

About that time, another teacher from down the hall came into the room. "What's the matter? What's wrong with him? Is he normally like this? Do you want me to do something?"

Well, yeah. It's an every other day occurrence, if you really want to know. And yes, you can do something : get him the hell out of my room before I stuff his shirt in his mouth and suffocate him with his belt.

So she took him back to her room to "cool off" and I finally got in touch with his mother. She acted sort of pissed at me, but I really don't give a flying fuck. I told her what had been going on, that he was in another teacher's room at the moment, and that I was going to send him to the office whether he, she, or his dad liked it or not.

Her response? "Well, I've been working with him at home some, and it doesn't seem like he's learning much." (Still don't know if that was an insinuation that I'm not providing an adequate education for her child or not, and I don't give a flying fuck. She continued with, "You need to get him into that 504 class, because someone told me that if he was in there, he wouldn't get in trouble for this kind of behavior."

At first I was too shocked to say anything. After a minute or so, though, I was ready to go off on the bitch with both barrels blazing.

"Ma'am, I'm really, REALLY doing all that I can at this point. He's uncontrollable. If I'm seeing this sort of behavior in school, then I know you're seeing it at home. And by the way, a recommendation for 504--or even if he gets accepted into it--absolutely does NOT mean that behavior of this magnitude will be excused. He's disrupting the entire class. He's not taking his medication like he should."

(Hint, Hint...something fishy is going on with the meds, and I have a strong suspicion that she's either taking the Rit@lin herself or selling it.)

"Like I told you the other day, he's not doing his work. He's not turning anything in. The only reason he passed any subjects last semester was because I excused his absences--even though I shouldn't have--and even then, he still had an F on his report card. To be honest, I'm at my wit's end with the situation. I've spoken with him and with you countless times, the principal has spoken with him, and the counselor has met with him. Other first grade teachers have dealt with him. It's taken three teachers to drag him down the hall when he starts this behavior, and that is unacceptable. Also--did I mention this to you? The Mental Health Clinic gave me a call yesterday, and I spoke with his case worker for half an hour."

That seemed to get her attention, which leads me to believe that she's well aware that CPS is about to begin an investigation. The lady at the MH Clinic suspects something really fishy is going on and wanted my opinion of the situation. I gave it to her straight: he has perpetual dark circles under his eyes, his mother herself has told me that he doesn't go to bed until 1 or 2 a.m. every night ("Yeah, he brought me his math homework at midnight last night...I told him we didn't have time to do it." What the HELL was the kid still doing up at midnight?), he wears the same clothes for days in a row, is dirty when he arrives at school, his hair (as well as his body) goes days without being washed, and I don't think they're giving him his medicine correctly. I also elaborated on a lot of other things, but I really don't feel comfortable sharing them here.

"Hmm. So, probably not abuse, then, but it does sound like a definite case of neglect. Looks like I'm going to have to get Child Services in on this one."

I responded, "Well, if you're going to call CPS because he's unwashed, dirty, and unkempt, then you might as well send a few cars, because about 80% percent of my class looks the exactly the same way."

She didn't comment on that one, and it didn't surprise me. Hell, I'm teaching in the most poverty ridden area of the city, and I'm sure she's aware of the ungodly teacher-turnover rate there.

"Now, I'm going to ask you a rather personal question, and if you're uncomfortable answering it, you can plead the fifth."

"Go ahead. Ask away."

"Okay, well...hmm. All right. I'll just come out and ask. Do you think that she drinks?"

"Heh. Drinks? Yeah, I'm pretty sure she drinks. In fact, I have a feeling that she does more than just drink, but I have absolutely no proof of that...so I'd appreciate it if you don't mention my name in conjunction with any conversation you have with her about it."

Good god. I'm tired of writing about this. It's been a hellacious day, and Alan's hounding me to get off the computer. Wish me luck tomorrow.

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I am: so very many things. A mother, a wife, a dreamer, a lover of animals and babies, a friend. I've been called a bitch, but if that's what you call someone who stands up for what they believe in and refuses to settle, then I guess the title fits.

loves: my family, horses, a full night's sleep, puppy breath, my daughter's laughter, thunderstorms, bubble baths, makeup, soft sheets, David Sedaris and Augusten Burroughs, wine, massages, the written word, and sour straws.

dislikes: closed minds, depression, pimples, extreme heat, math, panic attacks, black licorice, doing laundry, white chocolate, gin, Bush.