One of my absolute favorite kids, a girl I had last year, was expelled for the remainder of the year this week.
This just breaks my heart.
I love Goth Girl, although, to be honest, it certainly wasn't love at first meeting. She's got my first discipline referral last year for writing graffiti on a seat in the theater. However, if you took the time to know her (which many people don't because she can be pretty off-putting) she's a good kid, although incredibly screwed up, most of which is the direct result of her mother who's pretty screwed up herself. I tried and tried and tried to get mom to show up at school for a meeting (made appointments, never showed) and to send in a current doctor's diagnosis for ADHD (which Goth Girl could be a poster child for) so I could at least get her on a 504 plan. No luck. Mom talked a good talk but was too busy fooling around on her husband to spend any time on her kids. Goth Girl, like her mother, is all about drama and she generates drama and uproar wherever she goes. She also has absolutely no impulse control and a complete inability to think about consequences before she does something. However, although I'm definitely not a fan of medicating kids, when she was on her medication for the ADHD (which wasn't often) she was a perfect, model child and a lot of her behavior issues disappeared; she would actually stop and think before she did something.
That being said, she absolutely craved attention and if you gave it to her, you won her as a fan for life. Something as simple as a pat on the back and a "good job", could earn you a smile that would light up the room. I was hoping that 8th grade would be an improvement for her, and it started off pretty well. Not as many stints in ISS, not as many suspensions, and it was looking good. However, the little stuff started to add up and pretty soon she had enough discipline points and landed in alternative school for a while. She came back, had some conflicts with some other girls (like I said, it's all about the drama), and ended up in trouble again. I'm not exactly sure what the final straw was, but when I walked through guidance earlier this week and saw her there, I knew it wasn't good. She came over, gave me a big hug and said she was being expelled. She wasn't happy about it, and goodness knows I wasn't either.
The next day, three more of my kids from last year came by during homeroom to let me know the news, in case I didn't already know. All three of these kids, including Stoner Boy and the ever-popular Stoopid Boy, are the sort of kids that usually cause teachers to consider early retirement. They were, however, the kids I really did well with and the kids I really enjoyed. They were good, usually, for me, and if they got out of hand it didn't take much for me to get them back in line. They'd then go into other classrooms and act like holy terrors.
My homeroom kids watched these three with interest. Most of them know them, if not personally, then by reputation. After they left, one of my girls, Amazon Girl made an interesting comment. "Mrs. Bluebird, you're like a bad kid magnet."
"A bad kid magnet. All the bad kids love you."
I guess we have to be good at something in this world.