I remember seeing a cartoon a few months ago, discussing the difference in parents attitudes about student grades, as all responsibilities fall on the teacher and not the student nowadays. I chuckled, but having worked as a substitute teacher, I have seen it firsthand. I believe this holds true on behavior, too.
This all started a few weeks ago, when Joey was caught playing with his Nintendo DS (which he has repeatedly been told by his teacher and us not to bring to the school). He said it had slipped out of his pocket and he had not been playing with it. Whether or not, does not matter, the fact of the matter is he argued with his teacher. Let me add, Joey has always been very passionate when he thinks he was right. He was sent to the principal’s office and instead of spending the time cooling off, he began to express his feelings in writing, and using words I didn’t even know he knew, or doubt he even knows the meanings of said words. He was caught with the notebook by the Dean of Students and after a phone call home; he was given a one-day at school suspension.
Fast forward to a few days ago, and this time he was caught teasing another student. I don’t understand how a child who hates to be teased himself, could be the one upsetting the other student. He was sent to the office and the Dean of Students called home and told me Joey would be suspended the last day of school. I rolled my eyes, wondering how missing the last day of school could be punishment, but agreed to the suspension. Then less then an hour later, I received another phone call to come get him – I guess he was just having a rough day. I went to the school office and chatted with the Dean for a few moments. She informed me Joey had been caught teasing again and when his teacher called him out on it, he argued with her. And because he had just been sent to the office earlier in the day and already warned about harassing and being argumentative, he was now facing a three-day suspension.
I’m not going to defend his actions. He’s always been a little hothead, but in the same vein, can be very caring, loving, and concerned. I asked the Dean if this could be something we could address at his next IEP meeting and she agreed, we could discuss behavior modifications, although, it would not been changed until the next school year. I’m also very concerned with him associating getting angry equates to a free day from school. I'm also hoping and praying we can do this without the use of medications.
At this moment, he will be missing the last four days of the school year and more importantly, the fun days; i.e. a school trip to Wild Waves and Enchanted Village. I know he is not happy about missing out of the outing, but he brought it upon himself and must face the consequences of his actions. I also told him, he would be doing schoolwork for me and not for him to think of the suspension as an early start to summer vacation.
In the meantime, I am hoping for a more successful school experience for him next year. Actually, I can’t complain too much. I think Hawkins Middle School has been good for him, especially now that he is back on an IEP (which, in my opinion, the previous school district should have NEVER exited out of special education – but that’s another story for another day). I also really appreciate the band teacher and all the one-on-one attention he has given Joey on teaching him how to play the drums. He’s really grown as a drummer this past year and looked and sounded great at the concerts and parades. I think the more Joey finds he appreciates and enjoys, the more successful his school years will become.