Scatter Boy is gone. During Spring Break his father and step-mother apparently decided that he would be better off living with his biological mother in North Carolina. I'm not sure exactly why they came to this decision. It could have to do with finances, as there are a lot of mouths to feed at home and I know money is tight. Or, Dad, who is quite a disciplinarian, decided he'd had one phone call too many about Scatter Boy discipline issues. Who knows?
Scatter Boy came to The District as a sixth grader, when he came to live with his father. His sixth grade teachers had horrible problems with him, both with academics and behavior. He nearly lived in the guidance office and spent a lot of time getting emotionally worked up over just about everything. The sixth grade teachers had several meetings with his father who insisted that there was nothing wrong with Scatter Boy. He just needed structure and discipline. The records we got from North Carolina gave no indication whatsoever that he was a special education, nor if he was ever tested. Dad said he didn't need testing, so no testing ever happened. He was support-teamed, put into after school tutoring, and non-academically promoted to the seventh grade.
The Team got him this year and went through the same routine that the sixth grade teachers went through. It was obvious that something was wrong with this kid. He couldn't focus. He couldn't keep track of things. He was horribly immature one minute and the next minute he was acting like an adult (he's also a rather tall, lanky kid who looks a bit older than your typical seventh grader). Often times I'd glance over at him and he would be twitching ever so slightly and would have a look in his eyes as if fireworks were going on in his head. We got him into study skills with Mr. Title, and got him into after school tutoring. However, he was still failing every class and struggling. Dad, still, believed that there was nothing wrong with him that a little discipline couldn't fix. After all, it's his kid, so he should know, right?
It was frustrating. We knew there was something going on, but his cumulative file and his father never let on what it was, even when asked.
So, I'm cruising through guidance this afternoon during planning and the Guidance Goddess stops me.
"You are not, not, not, going to believe the phone call I just got."
"Scatter Boy is coming back?" I guessed. There had been an issue with custody papers and we were betting he'd be back. It has, after all, been known to happen.
"Remember when I told you that I got a call from the school he went to and they were asking where his special education file was and I told him that he wasn't special ed?"
"Yeah," I said, wondering where this was going.
"Well, they called back to let me know that they found his special ed file. His fifth grade teacher had it."
I was speechless. "You mean to tell me that he was a special ed student?" I asked.
"Yup," she said.
"And his father never told us, he never told us, and the school never sent us the records because his teacher had it in her room?" I was incredulous.
"That about sums it up," she said.
Mrs. Squirrel walks by around this time and we fill her in on the conversation. As a former special education teacher before she went into administration, Mrs. Squirrel has a soft place in her heart for these kids and is our special ed expert. She was stunned.
"All this time," she said shaking her head, "this kid was in regular classes, and he should have been in special ed classes. All because we never got the file."