Sunday, October 10, 2010

How Not to Win Friends and Influence People

We have a student new to the school this year who is supposedly here, living with his grandparents, because his school Up North "couldn't meet his needs."  In other words, grandma and grandpa think he's brilliant.  And Brilliant Boy agrees.  (Although, truth be told, he did tell some students that he's here because his mother couldn't afford to take care of all her kids - personally, I think his mother just wanted him out of her hair.)

Brilliant Boy's grandpa spent quite a bit of time in the Guidance Office questioning the Guidance Goddess about all the zeros he had in PowerSchool and how come, since his grandson was so brilliant, that he was failing all his classes?  The Guidance Goddess, with infinite patience, explained to grandpa that if a student doesn't turn in work, or fails to put his or her name on it, then the teacher has no choice but to put in a zero.  He assured her that Brilliant Boy insisted that he has turned in everything and it all had his name on it.  She suggested a team meeting, which we had.  And, by the time we had the team meeting, Grandpa had pretty much figured out that even if Brilliant Boy was brilliant, he was a lying little mess.

It wasn't just the academic issues with Brilliant Boy, a kid who can't even turn in classwork, but it was behavior issues.  Brilliant Boy assumes that everyone wants to hear what he has to say so he says it.  Constantly.  This child cannot shut up to save his life.  In fact, he received one of my first referrals this year for talking during a test.  Of course when you call him out on the talking you get the "What me?" look of horror, the denial, the insistence that everyone else, but him, was talking.  Right.  He talks so much that the other kids really can't stand him.  He's annoying, and all they want is for him to Shut the Hell Up.  So of course, he's made it to an isolation seat in every class.

So we're in the parent meeting, and Grandpa asks that Brilliant Boy get called out of PE to attend, and he lets slip a little blurb about "How the teachers say you're talking all the time, and isn't that why you didn't have any friends at your other school?"  Brilliant Boy squirms and admits that yes, the other kids hated him because his mouth got him in trouble all the time.  Great.  A repeat offender.

So fast forward a couple of weeks later and Brilliant Boy and a few kids have a bit of an argument at lunch, and he ends up cursing the lunch monitor and using a couple of F-bombs in the process and manages to get himself three days suspension.  (I'm sure grandpa enjoyed that).   Of course he comes back and spends the entire homeroom period in the morning bragging to all the kids about how he got suspended and isn't he cool, and life is just great, all he did was play videogames.  The other kids glare at him and Mrs. Reading tells him to pipe down.

Well, it just so happened that the day that Brilliant Boy came back was the day of our SWPBS reward party. Kids who did not get an administrative referral during the past nine weeks got to spend their related arts period having a party - they got to run around outside, toss footballs, play games, eat hot dogs and popcorn, scream, and just have a great time.  This was a really big deal and the kids were pumped about it.  So, Mrs. Reading, Brilliant Boy's homeroom teacher, reads off the list of kids who can't go, including Brilliant Boy, and says that as soon as they check in with their 1st period teacher, they need to head to the "holding room" with their science and geography books as they had an assignment to do.

Except Brilliant Boy didn't do this.  He managed, sneaky little brat, to sneak into the party and had a grand time, while the rest of the kids who had referrals sat in a room and did a science outline (I gave them extra credit for it).

To say that these kids were incensed was to put it mildly.  They were LIVID.  He KNEW he wasn't supposed to be at the party - for goodness sake, he was just back from being SUSPENDED for three days! By lunch time all the kids on the team knew that Brilliant Boy had attended the party and they were fit to be tied.  It was not FAIR!   Mrs. Social Studies had to pull a few kids aside to tell them to let it go, the principal knew about it, it would be taken care of, and the last thing they needed to do was to get in a fight or something because they were all upset.  Not a kid on the team would talk to him and many of them were turning their backs on him.  He definitely didn't make any friends with this stunt.

I had to go to a team leader meeting later that day and mentioned to Mr. Enforcer that I thought it was amazing that Brilliant Boy managed to make it out of school today without the snot getting beat out of him for his stunt.  (I might add that not only were the kids furious at him, but his homeroom teacher, Mrs. Reading was madder than I'd ever seen her.)   The Enforcer agreed and said he'd take care of it.  He did.  He'll have two days of In School Suspension when we get back from break.

But I seriously doubt that our kids are going to be very forgiving.


The Bus Driver said...

What a handful!

Thoughts on the PBS party - do you issue your kids a pass or something that makes it stand out that not everyone can get? My thinking behind this is, if those kids allowed to go, receive a pass/token 2 days in advance, then have to show their token/pass at every booth at the party - brilliant boy might have been caught.

I'm amazed that his classmates haven't beaten the snot out of him for doing this. In a way, I hope the snot gets beat out of him because maybe he'll learn to shut up and quit being a bonehead.

Dan Edwards said...

Sad. This child desperatly needs some strong counseling (if not therapy) and guidance. If he continues on this path, is he going to be that angry, lonely, abused by peers school shooter? What will he be like as an adult? I really hope your counselor (wow, your school has one!....) is working with this boy. Is social services involved?

Good luck. I hope some good things start happening for "Brilliant Boy."