Friday, October 09, 2009

People Cease to Amaze Me

It's two weeks since I identified and reported a kid who somehow missed school for five years. Yesterday I followed up with the guidance counselor, who informed me that Dad, the same Dad who allowed his kid to miss five years of school, has failed to come and meet with him. You can imagine how shocked I must have been.

The counselor kind of threw his hands up. I told him we can't do that. The father belongs in jail, and in New York State, parents who don't show up for meetings at school are guilty of educational neglect. This is a little tidbit I've had on the tip of my tongue for years, and I've never had opportunity to roll it out. But this, this is the time.

For this dad, I'd be happy to turn him in, or press charges, or whatever it entails. In his son's class, I have one girl who sneaks up to the blackboard and draws odd pictures. My lost student has taken to copying these picures into his notebook. His primary classroom activity is copying things from the board, and this is a clear indication of just how much reflection he devotes to this process.

He painstakingly writes a heading on each and every paper he begins. It looks really good, even though he writes words like "name" in his own language. He's a nice kid, but I have the feeling I'm not going to get him where he needs to be anytime soon. Whatever he needs, it's probably beyond my meager abilities.

I'm going to start following up daily with the counselor. I'm fairly certain he'll get things moving quickly. For one thing, he's got 8,000 other problems to worry about, as "Children First" entails placing impossible caseloads on each and every counselor. If he wants to make a dent in those 8,000 problems, he'll first have to get rid of me.

I'm pretty sure I can give him ample motivation to do so.
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