Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday, January 13, 2005

This weekend at UNC there is going to be a Blog Conference. I think I might go. Any NC bloggers want to come with me? I am not one to usually attend conferences by choice but I think this might be kind of interesting.

Last night I ordered high-speed internet and cable television...I feel like I am entering a whole new stage of luxury. I still don't have a bed, really, but I will be able to check my email at home (no more daily trips to the public library sitting next to men trying to sneakily look at porn!) and watch Baby Story.

Heaven. ¶ 5:00 AM

Thursday, January 13, 2005
So, today we had a pep rally. Anyone who teaches at a middle-school where kids are constantly monitored because of violent tendancies knows that pep rallies are a teachers nightmare. Who had this brain-child? "Hey! Let's take 500 violent and enraged 13-year-olds, put them in a gym that is too small to hold them all comfortably, and then raise their excitement levels to dangerous by having them scream and scream and scream as loud as they can! What could happen?"

Well, we learned what could happen today. First of all, as I sat on a bleacher in the tiny gym being jostled by children, deafened by screaming, and jabbed on the top of my head by the girl's basketball team's elbows, I thought about how funny the situation was. Among the staff during pep rallies, the nervous tension is palpable. The children's very happiness and excitement puts us on edge. I watched my fellow teachers dart their eyes to and fro, trying to spot the inevitable fight or fracus before it explodes. I laughed at how the administration ran back and forth, yelling into their walkie-talkies. I noted that our "Resource Officer" (ie, the cop that we pay to carry a gun and big stick around our school) was standing with his chest out in the corner, alert and at the ready. All the while, the children are blissfully howling and shoving and allowing their blood pressure to be raised.

Scene set? Okay. So the rally goes pretty much without major event. One student fell out of the bleachers onto the floor and scraped her knee, but that always happens. One cheerleader tripped on her way out onto the gym floor if front of the entire school, causing what, I am sure, will be a life-long embarrassing memory that she will tell either her children or Oprah, but that was no big deal. The children were released to go to their classes and we teachers went to meet them. Actually, I made it all the way to the end of school thinking that things had gone okay.

I was talking with a teacher on my team when the principal came up to us breathing heavily and looking uncomfortable.

"Have you heard?" she asked us, clearing her throat.
"What?" We both asked in unison, secretly pleased that there was something interesting going on and we were about to find out about it.
"Um...your son..." she started. "He was, um..."
"Oh my lord!" My teammate breathed, suddenly realizing it may be serious. Her son is a very tiny 6th grader at our school. "What happened? Is he okay?"
"Well, I'm not sure," replied my principal. "Well, as we let out, it appears that he was..." she seemed to not know how to say it. "He was...trampled...by the 8th graders. He fell and then no one stopped to help him up. They just walked over him. I think he may have been kicked a couple of times. One of the coaches found him underfoot and carried him to the office."

My team teacher flew to the office. As it turns out, the boy was fine. He had a cut ear and bruises and, I am certain, a new loss of innocence from knowing how cruel people can be, but he will be okay.

Now, these are my kids we are talking about. They saw a little boy on the ground and stomped him and kicked him. They didn't stop on their own-- apparently the coach had to physically move the kids to get to the boy. Yikes. A new low.

Also, today, one of the students that I have been trying very hard to help told the in-school suspension teacher he was going to bring a rifle to school on Tuesday and "blow his brains out". Instant long-term suspension for him. I'll not be seeing him again. It is always such a mixture of sadness and relief when one of these guys goes away.
¶ 2:28 PM

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