It has been drama week at my school this week. And I'm not talking your regular elementary school dramas of "He poked me," or, "She said I'm a girl," or "You're not coming to my birthday party!"
I'm talking D-R-A-M-A.
Today (Thursday): I come around the corner of the stairwell and happen upon a full-on fist fight between two grade 6 and 7 boys. "He spat on me." "He shoved a pair of tongs up my butt." (um, what?!) "I was just trying to get him off me." "But I didn't hit him that hard." (Oh, well, then, that's ok. Sheesh.) I haul them both up to the office, hear each side (while continually telling the other one that it's not his turn to talk), give them a lecture, and leave them for the principal to deal with.
Wednesday: Twice, just after lunch, there's a call that comes over the PA: "Would Grade 2 Girl please return to her class right away." This happens all the time. Kids play around in the washrooms, dawdle getting back from recess, etc, and get paged back to class. That Grade 2 Girl was being paged didn't surprise me in the least. What DID surprise me was 2 hours later, at about quarter to 3, there was another announcement on the PA explaining why there was a police presence around the school. A WHAT?!?! Turns out Grade 2 Girl has been missing since lunch. The police are doing a search around the school and would anyone with any information please call the office/search headquarters. My stomach knotts up into a tight little ball, and a hundred worst case scenarios flash through my head. I talk with my students about what was going on, assuring them that she was probably fine, and reinforcing various safety rules.
I go outside after the bell and there are FIVE squad cars, TWO unmarked cars, and a community policing cruiser. EIGHT cop cars. There are police everywhere, and there is a huge buzz happening as the entire school has just let out, parents are there, and everybdy's wondering, where's Grade 2 Girl? At about quarter after 3, her mom pulls up with the girl in the front seat. I just about burst into tears I'm so relieved to see her. Turns out mom came to pick her up at lunchtime for an appointment, but didn't tell anyone she was taking her. She left her backpack hanging on the hook, too. What's the teacher gonig to think? Yikes.
Tuesday: I'm in the cafeteria supervising a class of grade 4's. Girl 1 is mad about something, so she slams her tray down, making tortellinis and marinated carrot sticks bounce accross the table and hit another girl from her class. Girl 2 gets mad - I mean, a flash of rage - and grabs her tray of hot tortellini and dumps it all over the chest and hands of Girl 1. I get there, speechless at what I just saw. I make them pick up their tortellinis off the table and put them back on the tray, wipe down the table, and then tell them to finish their lunch. "But it's dirty." "Well, I guess you should have thought about that before you threw your food at her, huh." (ok, it came from the wiped off table top, not the floor, people) Both girls are bawling, saying they want to go home, and locking themselves in the washroom throughout this whole process. They end up refusing to eat and just head up to the office (which, by the way, is full of the grade 3 boy's posse who I caught on Monday doing various grade 3 boy crimes and who ended up losing their lunch hours for the week) to sit through lunch. I offered them other food from the "emergency" stash while they were in the office, but they refused to eat. Whatever.
Monday: Five classes go to the beach for an all-day field trip. While there, a mentally ill man high on meth comes up to a group of kids, particularly a group of grade 5 girls, drops his pants, and starts... uh... playing with himself. The police are quickly called, get there, and the guy takes up a shooting stance with his hands covered by a jacket. He says he's got a gun. The cops have to take it seriously, so they're there with guns drawn. In front of the kids. I'm sure everyone was ushered away, but it's a big open beach. They had to have seen. The police don't shoot, but tackle him to the ground and arrest him. The counsellor and youth & family workers spend all the next day meeting with the kids involved. The story makes it into the paper on Wednesday, and there are undercover cops posted at the beach for the rest of the week as other classes from the school have their beach days.
If all continues to go according to this week's pattern, we'll have another police incident tomorrow. Oh goody.
Fifteen school days till summer. Fifteen school days till summer......