Wednesday, January 27, 2010

When Good Kids Choose Rotten Friends

We had a meeting this week with a parent that we were, in all honesty, not really looking forward to meeting. Her daughter is one of the absolutely most annoying kids I have this year. It's hard, honestly, to come up with anything nice to say about a kid who has such an unpleasant personality (and we had heard rumors that the apple didn't fall far from the tree), so we weren't exactly wanting to meet mom.

However. Mom really needed to get in to see us (I even put that in the comments section on the report card) because she has a kid who should be an A B student and who has, in nearly all her classes, a solid F. Not just a basic F, but a real bad, nearly hard to recover from F. Passing is 70%...she has a 54% average for me. We're talking 26 missing assignments last semester. Referrals for constant tardies. Backtalk. She Will Not Shut Up. Other kids complain about her constant talking, note passing, and generally annoying behavior. So, she's in an isolation seat and spends most of the class period staring at me with absolute disgust.

Mom was concerned. Mom was getting some of the same rotten behavior at home. Mom couldn't understand how a kid could go from straight A's in elementary school and land with straight F's in middle school. We even had Mr. Enforcer there explaining to mom why we put her in the enrichment class (for kids who have shown they have the ability, but for whatever reason, won't work.)

Truthfully, it came down to her best friend. Snotty Girl has chosen the absolute worst friends she could possibly find. She hangs with the low achievers, the kids in trouble all the time, the kids who do absolutely no work - her best friend hasn't passed a single class since she hit middle school. And since she wants to fit in, because being smart isn't cool or popular, she acts just as stupid and ignorant as they do.

We mentioned this to Mom and she agreed. Mom wasn't wild about her friends either. So, we took a look at her schedule and decided to break up the little duo and separate her from The Best Friend. Mom basically said, "Do whatever it takes," (which was nice to hear for a change) and we brought Snotty Girl in and broke the news to her.

She was LIVID.

She was mad at us, mad at Mr. Enforcer, and FURIOUS at her mother.

We had her schedule changed by the time her electives were over and we put her in our classes that were heavily stacked with the nicer, smarter kids. In fact, she ended up in my favorite class, my "girl class" which has only 6 boys and 15 girls. It's a great class with high achievers and just really nice kids.

Snotty Girl sulked and pouted all day, even when I put her in a group and didn't stick her back in isolation (and she hasn't made a peep). She also asked if she could have a second chance and make up a missing assignment (I told her she had one day).

Her friend? She was mad and pouted all day as well. In fact, they're both still pouting. Her friend was SHOCKED - just SHOCKED - that Snotty Girl's mother actually let THEM CHANGE HER SCHEUDLE.

I guess I'm a them.

In any case, I think we did the right thing. If nothing else it quieted these two down for a bit and Snotty Girl actually turned in some work. Amazing.

5 comments: said...

Good for you.

Sarah said...

That's great! I love it when the parents are actually supportive.

Theresa Milstein said...

Please do an update on this, so we know if either/both girls have any sort of change.

You're right, friends are a big influence. I'm always asking my son and daughter who they're hanging out with at school because I know who the trouble-makers are.

The Bus Driver said...

sounds like the change will be good for snotty girl and hopefully she'll change her attitude and you'll see marked improvement.

Coach J said...

You go, them!

It's amazing how quickly a student's tune will change when they're separated from their punk friends.