and then there are days

where I am running around the entire day.  There are days when I hit the schoolgrounds running.  Really, it started Thursday when, during my commute home during a 2-hour snow release, my principal calls telling me one of my students brought a knife to school.  He was showing it to kids on the bus and telling them that he was going to “cut up” a kid who had taken a Pokemon card of his and refused to return it.

Pretty serious situation.

So Friday morning, we begin the task of finding as many witnesses as we can.  Fortunately, that was not difficult since my braggart 7th grader was very public about his intentions with the knife.  I interviewed three kids – all stories lined up (makes this easier).  So in comes my student and his parents.  The high school liason officer did most of the talking – letting the kid tell all about what had happened.

I haven’t indicated yet that the student in question here has been mentioned already on this blog.  This guy is a compulsive liar.  Very difficult if not impossible to get him to tell the truth – not only when he messes up, but even when telling positive things about himself.  It’s really quite sad.  Hence the reason we had to do our homework before interrogating him.

So when the officer prompted him to tell the story about the bus ride and the knife, we made it clear that we knew the truth already based on witness accounts.   And, surprisingly, he was fairly truthful.  3 months ago, this boy would have told about 5% truth and the rest fiction.

So, though this is obviously a negative incident in this boy’s history, it does indicate some positive movement towards truth-telling.  And, up until Thursday, things were going quite swimmingly at school.

I hope this incident (and the unavoidable legal aftermath) doesn’t pull him down a path towards increased criminality.

This is the fork in the road I have seen many children reach during their time with me: some incident occurs where they may become under a court order.  This tends to either harden them (where no consequence will help guide them towards behavioral improvement), or scare the bejesus out of them (where they quickly figure out better choices for themselves).

This student has a good heart.  He’s really an innocent kid.  I will take it very personally if he chooses to harden himself and lead a life of criminal thinking…but I don’t know yet how to keep him innocent while he makes such choices.


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