Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Waking Up Rip Van Winkle

There are times I really truly wonder if anyone is raising my kids.

We have a student this year whom I really truly like. A lot. He's a neat kid. He came to us the second nine weeks, and to say he has issues is putting it mildly. This kid probably has racked up more frequent flyer miles moving from relative to relative than most business people do in a decade of business travel. He is now, for the first time in his life, living with his biological mother.

When he first arrived on our team he tended to just wander off - he'd even leave the building and we'd get a call from the gas station mini mart across the street reporting that they had one of our kids. He also tends to not go to class and just would wander aimlessly through the halls until someone snatched him up. He has severe crying jags in class (and ends up in guidance), has days where he's shaking so hard we think he's about ready to have a seizure (and ends up in guidance), days where he swears he's sick and has to go to the nurse (she sends him back as mom won't come get him and he doesn't have a fever.) He does absolutely no work at all and will do anything to get out of class. He comes from a family with a history of addictions and I fear he's developing a few of his own, including a fairly serious addiction to video games. The only thing he's even remotely interested in is World of Warcraft.

His mother says he's perfectly normal at home and she can't figure out why we're having issues with him at school. Although she does agree that he plays way too many video games.


We've noticed that the past few weeks (when we're in school, that is and not on another flipping snow day) that he's exhausted. He cannot stay awake. If he doesn't have his head down on his desk, he's zoned out staring straight ahead in a nearly catatonic state. We had a snow day on Monday and he arrived Tuesday and was a complete mess. He said he'd figured we'd have another snow day on Tuesday so he stayed up all night. Today was even worse (and it didn't snow so he didn't have that excuse). He could not stay awake. The bell would ring for class changes and he'd be out cold. It was so bad that the other kids started teasing him about it. He nearly missed lunch and nearly missed his bus.

So where on earth is the parent? Why is Sleepy Boy allowed to stay up all night, mostly likely playing video games? Is his mother home? Is she even aware? Kids this age need sleep - a lot of it - and this kid is getting none, outside of what he's getting in our classes.

I've turned the issue over to Mr. Enforcer and Guidance. Perhaps they can get to the root of the problem here.


Sneaker Teacher said...

I had a somewhat similar issue last year with a first grader and it turned out his mom was letting him stay up late (like 11 o'clock) and she didn't know that young kids need a lot more sleep than that. As soon as we talked with her about it, he began going to bed earlier. I honestly think some parents just don't know how to parent which is really sad...

You have some tough kids girl! said...

You don't have to make a phone call to the home BEFORE turning it over to someone else? That is not allowed here. We must make at least 2 contacts with a parent BEFORE any administrator will even consider this. And, by the way, your description matches so many of our school population. No big deal.

kherbert said...

A few years ago I had a student, who literally could fall asleep standing up. He did it in my class and in PE.

At first Mom excused it because he had sleep apthia (SP). The boy (5th grade) was close to 300 lb. Mom said she couldn't get him medical care. I got our Social Worker involved. Mom refused to fill out the paper work.

Then he was overheard regaling the other boys with the plot lines from late night HBO shows like Real S3x.

We told mom - she said "Well he wakes up because he can't breath and watches TV. I can't stop him I have to sleep. I suggested that she use the parental controls on the cable box or remove it to her room at night. N0 that would make him mad.

Mrs. Bluebird said...

dkzody, this kid is one of our guidance "frequent flyers" and our guidance counselor (and admin) have been working with this kid and parent a lot - there's still a lot of this kid's back story that we don't know but our counselor has discovered during his sessions - so we felt instead of stepping into the middle of the situation, it was best to get a hold of someone who may know a bit more about what's going on than we do. And in our school, that's a perfectly fine thing to do.

Darren said...

There were probably kids like this when we were in school, but I certainly don't ever remember them.

VKT said...

I can't tell you how often I have had a child just like him in my classroom. We finally learned that one child was being dragged out each night by his mother when she went out.

Peach Pod said...

This is one of those parents who think 'perfectly normal' means 'never leaves room, lives on chips and soda which is fine as long as he doesn't bother me!' We have lots of those!