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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

We don't lick the furniture.

Things you should never have to say to high school students, but you probably do:

  1. We don't lick the furniture. 
  2. Listening means bodies still, mouths shut, and eyes on me.
  3. Only one person per chair.
  4. And my personal favorite: Please don't cut your neighbor's hair.
I mean, I know it is the end of the year.

I get how tired and antsy we all are.

I even understand wanting to lick spilled Pixie Stix off a desk.

But seriously, hair cutting?



On what planet could cutting someone's hair in class be a good idea?!?

This is my life.

Herding cats in circles while they are in heat and rolling in cat nip and being chased by dogs.

The aggravation I felt at this incredibly immature event is immense.

Despite the fact that a 14 year old boy took scissors from his table, crossed the room, and either pretended to, or actually, cut the hair of not one, but two, other 14 year old boys, it turned out ok.

For a minute, I wasn't so sure.

I really thought the culprit might get seriously pounded.

Not like a little push and shove, or a single good punch, but straight out stomped on.

Even his targets weren't a smart choice.

One of them is three times his size, slow to anger, and built like a grizzly bear.

The other, while more physically similar, has a lot of street smarts in the worst sort of way.

Oddly, neither truly went after this kid.

The first one tried. Sort of.

He started cursing a blue streak and lumbered to his feet.

At which point, I stepped in, put a hand on his arm, and asked him to please let me handle it.

And he did.

He dropped right back to his seat and remained there.

He even stopped hurling expletive grenades across the room.

The other boy took slightly more convincing.

These days, the kid saying is "I am not the one."

It means "Do not mess with me because I will not take it."

This kid was not the one, two, three, or four.

As quickly as possible, I put the offender out of the room and told him to report to the office.

Instead, he skulked outside the door.

I remained seated near the victims until I was completely confident they weren't going to make a break for it.

Then I went into the hall. . .

To encounter a contrite kid who swore up and down he was only playing.

Who acknowledged that he played too much.

Who begged to go to his next class instead of the office.

Who seemed to realize he had stepped in some deep doo-doo.

So I sent him to class, because, really why not?

I wrote the referral and the principal could fetch him from class as easily as anywhere else.

The important thing to me was creating some physical distance between the boys so the situation couldn't escalate again.

Which it would have because the offender here typically becomes aggressively defensive when challenged.

The other two boys had calmed down by the end of the hour.

Both told me it was over.

And then the first, the big guy, said a thing that made me pause. Said a thing that warmed my heart.

He said "I trust you that it's handled and I wasn't planning on holding a grudge about it, for you."

How sweet and trusting and nice and gratifying is that?

This end of the year aggravation is pebbled with these little moments of awesomeness.

It took me a couple of hours to get over how irritated I was by the whole mess.

Once I did, I realized, though the hair-cutting is an appallingly bad thing, the outcome wasn't.

Instead, those boys showed a level of trust, respect, and maturity I was not expecting.

That is a good thing indeed.

Maybe they will survive sophomore year?  Huh, who knew?

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