I’ve dealt with enough knives that I don’t mess up the photographing procedure anymore. I’ve done enough bag searches that I can tell you which stashed lunch items rot and give off the most drug-like smells. I know my district police phone number by heart and can tell you most of the officers’ names. I’ve scrubbed gang signs off of bathroom walls and shown gang videos on youtube to parents. I’ve listened to enough graphic descriptions of crack addictions and shootings and abuse that I’ve stopped looking upset. I’ve written approximately seven million safety plans and threat assessments and mediation agreements.
Our school is a great school, but I deal with only the worst things every day. Our kids are great kids, but I deal with the same handful in the office all the time. You’ll have to forgive me if my view of everything has become a little warped. It’s easy to feel like I’m in Battle Mode against everyone and forget entirely about how nice the big picture actually can be.
Today, I had a kid in my office, preparing him to go back to class. He’d been suspended for an epic string of misbehavior involving theft and broken things and stunning disrespect. He’s the kid who wears his hat in just the right colors and obsessively checks that it’s tilted at just the right angle. He’s also the kid who actively disrupts ninety percent of his classes and angrily informs his teachers that he doesn’t give a fuck about their consequences.
I asked him how his weekend was. He told me it was great, because he cooked with his mom and she let him rent a bunch of movies.
Doesn’t the jaded part of you just know he was watching viciously violent R-rated scary movies?
I asked. He saw Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, Ice Age 3, and Madagascar (his favorite).
As if that isn’t cute enough, I then asked him to remove his hoodie before going to class. He had to pull it over his head, and of course it got stuck. He had to tug and tug and tug with both hands. It caught on his eyebrow, pulling his left eye wide open before popping off his head. He talked about Madagascar through the whole thing as if nothing adorable was going on.
Kids. They are just kids. Just kids. Just kids.