Today we expelled a student. Now, in other countries this might be a mundane occurrence, but here lots of things must have happened, and lots of things must have failed. As they did. Kid started at our school with “behavioural issues”. First thing I read about the boy was a paediatric review in which they recommend in patient treatment. But he didn’t want to, so his parents said “well, that’s it then”*. He was 10 years old, and he was already the boss. Over the years, that was the result of whatever measure was proposed. A rather desperate mother would agree that something must be done, an indifferent father wanted to be left alone, the boy said “no”, end of story. That’s how he grew from a difficult kid into a bully and a tyrant. Racist? Check! Sexist? Check. Basically no female teacher stood any chance of teaching in that class. Trans- and homophobic? You would believe it. Violent? Of course.
The two chaotic Covid years saved him from being expelled earlier, but with this school year being in person again, things quickly came to an end. Unfortunately this made him believe that he could do whatever he wanted without any consequences. And right until the end, the same drama played out. He was offered an internship as opposed to temporary expulsion, he thought it was too far away, he refused. He was offered to switch schools without the stigma of being expelled, the mum said “That’s a good idea!”, he said “I don’t want to”, so it didn’t happen, because obviously at 14 he’s the one to make the decision.
Now finally we expelled him. What is noticeable is that now his family, who never gave a fuck about rules and procedures, tried to play the system. they were invited for the school meeting today with two weeks in advance, as required by law. On Friday the mother wrote a letter saying that “due to the high number of infections she and her son were unable to attend the meeting, because that would be too many people in a room and her husband was not vaccinated”. Now, I personally don’t see any reason why we should care about anybody wilfully unvaccinated and also for the past 18 months one of the reasons that made teaching the kid unbearable was that he wouldn’t wear a mask properly and yell “Covid is fake!” whenever you reminded him to wear the mask properly, so for all we personally cared, they could kick rocks. But the tactic was clear: get the verdict dismissed on technical grounds. Claim that you had no opportunity to say your part, that the school refused to accommodate your health and safety concerns (and you can bet that the ministry that doesn’t give a fuck about health and safety when it comes to kids and teachers will totally side with the parents). Unfortunately we’re not quite that easily fooled, so we scheduled a video conference on the secure ministry approved school platform, informed them and gave them the opportunity to ask for tech support. Of course they didn’t show up, I could bet a muffin that they will complain, but I can’t see how we can be faulted for them not participating. And thus the lesson from all of this will not be learned. the kid will go on in the next school as he did in ours and he will cost all of us a lot of money, and all because his parents couldn’t tell a child’s wants from a child’s needs and let their 10 years old kid run the circus.
While I’m personally not sad that I won’t have to see him again (I don’t actually fancy being called names three times a week), I’m sad in a more general way. He was a small child once, and he needed help, and he didn’t get help, because his parents refused to see where the problem started. And they think they and their precious son are the victims here.
*There’s a point to be made about how in patient treatment isn’t the best idea if the patient is unwilling, but that’s a different discussion and also we’re not talking about an adult here.