Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Billy is in my morning class. He doesn't care much for doing the work, but he usually has a good time discussing the issues of the day with his friends. The other day he got caught by a security guard sneaking into the trailers 35 minutes after class had begun. I vouched for him, and out of the kindness of her heart, she let him enter my class without walking around to the front of the building.
Billy was upset later on. The school had called his house, reporting he was cutting. Would I please set them straight? I wasn't inclined to do so.
The next day, in the first few minutes of class, he opened the door to the adjacent trailer class, being covered by a sub, and called out to his friends. I asked him what he thought he was doing, and he said he was going to the bathroom. I told him that was the wrong direction, and sent him back to his seat.
After class, I told him he was going to have to start showing up on time and doing his homework. I also told him someone who spoke his language was going to talk to his parents later on.
"I live alone," he said.
"No parent or guardian?"
"Well, I have a guardian, but I don't know his name," he told me.
"Sorry, Billy, but I don't believe that."
"Well, I'm 18, and I don't need a guardian anyway."
Now that's an interesting dilemma. What do you do with kids who are legally adults, who don't take responsibility for their own actions, and have no one else responsible for them? And the more pertinent question--why was he upset that someone had called his house if no one of authority could hear the message?
Pondering those myseries, I let Billy go. Exiting the trailer, he turned and called me a "stupid fag" in front of several adult witnesses. I was surprised, but I also knew that remark would make it easier for me to show him the folly of his ways. Minutes later, I learned that Billy was not 18 after all. His guardian will be coming in this week for a meeting.
I have a feeling his behavior in my class will improve. We'll see. But I'm still wondering about that hypothetical 18-year-old who tells me no one is responsible for his behavior. That could be a real problem, and I feel pretty lucky I haven't had it yet.