Monday, February 8, 2010

"What are the police doing here?"

This is what my students asked at the end of the day as we filed outside for dismissal. It was an interesting question. Typically a squad car is parked on the main road in front of our building. Today, in addition to that car, there was one parked literally on the black top of our school yard, right under the steps from the main entrance. Since there were no announcements or memos sent around during the school day about any potentially dangerous situations, I had no idea. I explained that the police were there to help everyone stay safe.

After I spoke with a few parents, I had two left who were either waiting to go home or go to after school. What follows are some of their thoughts and experiences about police.

Student 1: The police put people in juvie.
( Yes I asked him if he knew what juvie was, and yes, he did provide an accurate explanation, and yes, he is five years old)

Student 2: When I am in the car with my mom and we see a police car, she always asks me if I have my seat belt on. She never wears hers, only when we see the police. (I interjected here with comments about seat belts and how they keep people safe in the car) Oh yeah, my mom says she does not need no ticket.

Student 1: When the police are not looking, my mom puts the car on two wheels and makes it spins around really fast. It is awesome, like in the movies.

Student 2: So if I started kicking you really hard and doing bad stuff, what would happen, would I go to juvie?

Our lovely discussion was interrupted by Student 1 leaving with his family and Student 2 going to after school. I know so many of my students and the students in our building have negative perceptions of police officers and some of that is largely due to the negative experiences of their family members or neighbors. It troubles me though. I want them to know that police can help people, that if they were ever in trouble and needed help, they could ask a police officer. My messages about the police stand in sharp contrast to their perceptions though.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Still kind of difficult

So it was my second week back after a long absence and I find that it is still hard to get through the day. One of my coworkers apparently did not notice that I actually returned last week. One of my student's parents approached me in a confrontational manner about my absence. She started with "oh, I wasn't sure you were coming back". I responded with " Hi, it's nice to see you too." She then wanted to know what I had and why I had to be out for so long. She wanted to know if it was contagious and I assured her that my medical team would not allow me back to work if I was putting myself or others in harm's way. The conversation ended with her explaining that during my absence she called my principal to ask what I had ( hello, hippa, how are are you? Oh, hi confidentiality!) and that she was thinking of transferring her child. At this point, I really did not have to much more to say to this woman and I worked hard to tell her NOT to tell her that it was still not too late to transfer her child.

I talked with our building rep who spoke to another union person about some of my employment options for next year and how I go about implementing those options.

Some of the days were easier than others and overall, I worked hard to make it through the week. It was a long week with my students. Some of the behavior from last week seemed to have lessened a little in intensity and some had not.

5 more get ups until school break!