A few weeks ago we had a student drop out. He had been wanting to for awhile and was finally able to convince his grandma to sign the papers and get him out of there. He didn’t drop out because of any reason that could’ve been dealt with but because he didn’t like it. This kid was dealt a crappy hand from the start with terrible parents, oddball sister and was just surrounded by awful people. But he would always say that he just wanted to stay home with his family—what little family he had.
He was always saying that he was being bullied. At every school he had been at he was always bullied. Now, I’m not one to declare bullying when I see one instance. I need to see a pattern occurring because part of the definition of bullying is “repeated.” That one person saying something mean about your pimples that one time isn’t bullying but doing that every day in math class with a stupid accent for four months is. As we did more observing of this student what we came to find out is that he was able to give just as much as he got.
What I assumed, and I think most everyone else who had more training and education than me did too, was that he bullied other kids who ignored him but then he went too far, they “bullied” him back and then he told on them. I saw this once and I called him out on it. When someone would accidentally trip over someone’s foot or leg, he would say “I hope you broke his leg.” At first we were told to comment on it, tell him what he said was wrong but then that became don’t acknowledge it and finally send him away or to the office. His negativity drained everybody and he was negative because he didn’t want to be at school. He would bully the other kids in the special education department by pushing the recycling cart into our Down Syndrome student and pointing out the other kids’ developmental problems. What was interesting was that the more he had a steady routine of school the more he was better behaved but if we had more than two days off from school, we’d seem to go right back to square one.
The tipping point seemed to be in culinary class where he refused to wear an apron—a simple apron that all the other students were wearing. The option of either wearing a chef’s coat or serving an all-day detention was offered with him choosing to serve detention. A couple days later, he and his grandma signed him out of school and he hasn’t been seen since.