Innocent until proven guilty. Not in school.
I received a surprising email from a teacher that Chase had made a mess under his chair in class and was called back to the room to clean it up.
Everything is not always as it appears to be. Maybe in science it may work, but when it comes to real life, you need to use common sense and read between the lines.
Chases story. He was sitting at a square table with four other kids and was taking a test. One boy pulled out toothpicks and started throwing them across the table. Another boy threw them back. Chase became distracted while watching them do it and was redirected out loud by the teacher to focus on his test. This is how the email read.
Today during testing Chase struggled in keeping to himself during our Science Test. I provided multiple reminders that he should focus on the test and not interact with others at his table. At one point during the test I witnessed Chase with a half-dozen or so colored tooth picks in his mouth. After class was over I discovered multiple colors toothpicks broken and un-broken under his chair and around his chair…
Chase did pick up a few toothpicks and put them in his mouth. Imagine a kid with ADD picking up something that was sitting on a table in front of him. Hard to believe, don’t you think(Small hint of sarcasm there). He watched the whole thing unfold and looked at his teacher to see if he noticed what was going on. So what exactly did the words struggles to keep to himself. How would you interpret that? He brushed toothpicks out of his way as he tried to finish his test in the midst of distraction. At the end of class the teacher said to to him in front of the class, “Chase, I am sending your parents an email to tell them about the mess you made.” The teacher claims he told him privately. Privately would have been after class, not saying it quietly from behind his desk while Chase was at his own desk.
This is what came next.
Another student was responsible for a portion of this mess. I had both students re-called from their class to return and pick up the mess left on the ground. Chase claimed he was not responsible for any of the mess but that contradicts my observations and student reports at his table.
The real truth. He asked one kid, the kid who happened to bring the toothpicks into class so who created the mess. He of course blamed Chase probably because the way the teacher feels about Chase is pretty clear from the tone of the email. Kids pick up on that and it’s unfortunate. So who better to blame?
Chases name was called over the school loud speaker to report back to the class where he was told he was responsible for the mess and he was to clean it up. Why wouldn’t he just keep him after class to take care of it then? Was it necessary for him to be called back in front of the whole school? He was NEVER asked to give his side of the story but offered it in his own defense while he cleaned the toothpicks off the floor. There was no other kid there helping clean up the mess. Why did the email say another kid helped? So based on my observation of the situation, I would say the email wasn’t exactly accurate.
A half truth is a whole lie. ~Yiddish Proverb
Lucky for me I had a conference with that teacher that night. This was our conversation.
“Did you see my son throw a toothpick?”
“I never insinuated he threw a toothpick. He broke up toothpicks and dropped them underneath his chair” (Because he’s really stupid enough to incriminate himself like that. Makes perfect sense)
Me, pointing my finger at his face and pretty pissed off by now. “Did you see my son break and drop a toothpick on the ground? ”
“I saw a several colored toothpicks in his mouth.”
“Imagine that. How surprising a kid with ADD would pick up a toothpick on a table in front of him and put it in his mouth. (Louder now and saying one word slowly and clearly showing my disgust? “Did you it did you not see Chase break up toothpicks and drop them underneath his chair?
“No, but other kids at the table observed him doing it.”
When I asked why he didn’t approach the the table while it was happening and didn’t seem to be concerned with WHO brought the toothpicks into class, he told me he didn’t want to disturb the rest of the class. The ONLY kid who said Chase did it was obviously the kid who brought them in the first place and he was the ONLY kid who was asked privately after class about the incident. Chase confirmed with the other kids at the table and they stated they were never asked. I then offered to have a meeting with the entire table to get to the bottom of this which he told me would be illegal. I asked, so it would be illegal to walk up to a table during an incident and question all the kids present about what had taken place? Isn’t that how you find the real truth or had you already decided you knew what transpired? His answer was still, I didn’t want to disturb the class.
The truth is he could have kept them all after class but he had made up his mind that Chase was guilty. And the kid that brought the toothpicks, he didn’t pick up a single one.
This is an example of why I try to bring into awareness the unacceptable things that are happening in our schools. Somehow, we usually end up on the receiving end and it doesn’t feel very good. Guess what Mr. Teacher, not complying with a 504 is against the law too but clearly behavior is important and education is not. I can’t help that I have a class of 30 kids, he says to which I respond, I can’t help that I have a kid with ADD.
It’s bad enough I have to be an advocate for his education, now I have to be one for his reputation and self esteem.