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Gotta Start Somewhere

May 23, 2012
Baby Lucius

Meet baby Lucius. We’re best friends. All children are supposed to be this happy.

I deal with angry children a lot these days. I’d be mad too if I spent my childhood witnessing senseless crimes and being afraid to go outside for the fear of stray bullets 00 or worse– intended ones. One of my angriest, a pink-haired bully, came to school today. She was wearing a pink cardigan to match her pink hair, and a lime green head band around her forehead. She comes to school about once every 2 weeks. Super smart. Just doesn’t come.

She walked out of my class today, and I wasn’t sure why. She walks pretty much every time she’s here, but normally it’s because she’s sleeping or fighting or is mad that I correct her on her uniform compliance (or lack thereof). Today she walked out and was leaning against the wall, crying. I let her be, a class full of kids unmonitored. This is the same girl whose father came to get here one day and yelled at her, “I told your mother not to have you.”

A little time passes, and my dean knocks on my door. She’s asking for me, and still sobbing.

She handed me a paper. She wrote this:

The people I love being surrounded around is leaving
One by one
Every year I get a phone call saying
That they’re no longer here
Hear it on the news, see it in the newspaper
Can’t believe it till I see them in a casket
What do I do?
What can I say?
To bring them back?
Feel lost
Feel empty
Want to scream
Want to get away
Shed so many tears hoping they will find a way
Mind gone
Soul feels taken away
When will this stop?
How can we make a change?
Will I live to see 30?
Why can’t we just get along?
My mother never prepared me for this
So excuse me if I break down
All I want to know is can I have my loved ones back?

She kept her head down when I pep talked her. She nodded in agreement. I told her what I told my class today as we wrote about the concept of liberation from whatever oppresses us. I told her that education is freedom to move forward in life, that without it, we are all doomed. That what we can’t control we have to let go, and what we can control we have to hang on to with every fiber. I told her how smart she is, how much I miss her when she is not here, and how I know she can do or be anything she wants, if she puts her education first. And that she’s right, no one, not one of us, is prepared to deal with the type of senseless killing that happens in New Orleans. Kids should be allowed to be kids.

I saw her in the hall at the end of the day. An odd sight. Today may have been the first day she made it to the end of the day. Gotta start somewhere.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 23, 2012 2:06 pm

    I hope she stays. She may not tell you but she knows that you are giving her something important or she would never have shared that with you. If you tell her that you posted her “poem” please tell her that I thought it was beautiful and it made me cry.

  2. Claudia permalink
    May 23, 2012 2:40 pm

    I have a kid like this this year. He is in his second bout of “alternative school” – both times sent for coming to school high. He is hanging in there – about to graduate. He’ll be back here next week for graduation, I fought for that. I love him to pieces for persevering and still having dreams and a sense of humor. I know some other teachers think I’m crazy for caring so much. I got an email from him today: “I am very greatfull for all the help I have recieved especially from you coach.:)” Your girl’s poem was a gift, and so is her attendance. Keep it up, you are making a difference in her life.

  3. kmrobb1 permalink
    May 23, 2012 2:43 pm

    you are absolutely right. i just want to scoop those babies up and show them what a happy, healthy, worry-free childhood should be.

  4. May 23, 2012 4:12 pm

    It seems to always start with saving just 1 then hopefully more will come.

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