Saturday, February 4, 2012

Broken Trust

It has been a very emotional and disturbing week.

On Monday a student stole my cell phone off of my desk.

We have been having a few problems with one of our students. He is a known behavior problem and is one of our special education students. We were excited when we came back from break because he was doing so well. By the end of the second week of January we began to become very disturbed. That Friday afternoon, he spilled honey all over the school Liberian's desk and computer. It happened at the end of the day on a Friday and he was never properly disciplined.

Over the course of the next week, he was caught in a number of lies. His lying has become compulsive. He was also caught drawing explicit pictures and he cut his hand on scissors he broke in his desk. All together it seems like cries for help, and indicative of a child in crisis. We gave mom, who came crying to us that she wanted to help her son, information about counseling. She never made the calls.

Just before my prep, I checked my phone for any missed calls or messages, left it on vibrate and left it on top of my desk in the corner of the room. I left the room during my prep. I didn't look for my phone again until 4pm when I was getting ready to leave for the day. Of course you think you just put it down somewhere else. You search. You have a friend call it. Would you believe the kid actually answered trying to use a fake voice. He answered the phone just before 5pm. Didn't answer after that and according to the phone company there was no activity really after that.

What to do? You can guess who took it, but you can't accuse without proof. Nobody saw it. It's just a cheesy phone, not a smart phone, so no tracking. Phone company says to file the police report but it turns out a phone like that can't be traced without a court order. So a very stressful hour in the police department was pretty much wasted. My administrator, who is very supportive, basically wants to expel the kid, or at least kick him out of the building for being out of district. (Our community aide went for a home visit and turns out they don't live there anymore.)

I just let the mom know that my phone went missing, all casual like. She came running back not 2 minutes later, and told me her son admitted to "playing with it" and it was in his desk. I knew this was a lie because we checked all desks before the children arrived just on the off chance it was still in the room. I told her I would look, but could she please look around at home. She denied it emphatically. My question is how can you KNOW it's not at home if you never looked for it.

The next day we had a huge meeting with case manager, guidance counselor community aide, and both teachers. Needless to say the need for counseling was reiterated, and told the mother about his constant lying, and my inability to trust him on any level. Needless to say, NOTHING HAPPENED about the missing phone. So we all know he took it, he even admitted to taking it and I CAN'T DO ANYTHING! My husband was irate and it takes a lot to get him working up. He's been asking me to leave teaching in the city for years, but right now there's nowhere to go, no jobs to be found.

The student was suspended for Friday for an unrelated offense, but is going unpunished. I can't help but be bothered by that. Also, how can I work with a student I don't trust. Something many people don't understand is that there has to be a level of trust between student and teacher, especially in Special Ed. How can I work effectively with this student? If anyone tells me to suck it up,  I will spit in their face. I suck it up everyday. I accept the abuse everyday and the disrespect by the parents, politicians, and much of the public. Must I also accept personal attacks as well?

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