Well I didn’t actually get called down to the principal’s office literally speaking. It was the end of the school day for my boys. They had about 20 minutes before they would have been getting on the bus. The phone rings and it’s the school. I thought it was kind of weird for two reasons. The school doesn’t normally call me except for the very occasional problem our older son is having with his allergies, the rare call that one of them is sick or hurt, or it could have just been a message from the school for whatever reason going out to all the parents (although those are usually in the evening). The other reason is that it’s at the very end of the day.
So I answer and it’s our son’s school principal. Who by the way is a really awesome principal and educator and he’s great with kids. I actually had him for a biology teacher when I was in high school. So I answer and he informs me that my son (my youngest who is 7) and another little boy got into some trouble in the classroom. They were both working together on a math paper and they both decided to write a bad word on their work.
So of course his teacher wasn’t very happy to see that. I don’t blame her. I wouldn’t be happy either. They both admitted to doing it and after she explained why we don’t write bad words on anything at school, she sent them down to have a little talk with the principal. The other little boy opened up and talked with him while my son sat there with his arms crossed and wouldn’t say a word. He would not speak and was completely ignoring him. I have no idea what is going on with him lately but the last couple of months he has been doing this. Normally it’s because he’s stuck on something they are working on and he won’t ask for help. Then when it’s time to move onto something else, his teacher can’t get him to move on and he will just sit there refusing to do work because he doesn’t understand and he gets upset if he can’t complete it – but yet, he won’t explain himself or ask questions.
He’s never gotten in trouble or done anything he shouldn’t have all year long except for the occasional talking out of turn. All this is new. It’s like he just started shutting down and we don’t know why. Anyway, his principal wanted to see if I could talk to him. So I tried and he even ignored me! So I start to get frustrated and Mr. Principal assured me that it’s okay, there’s a couple other kids his age that has gone through the same thing at some point throughout the year. But he decided he didn’t want to just send him on the bus while being that upset or angry (or whatever was going on with him) and thought it would be best that one of us picked him up. So my husband was going to stop by and pick him up on his way from work.
His principal sat with him in the office though until his dad got there because he wasn’t going to make it until about 15 minutes after school ended. By the time he got there to get him, he was finally talking with his principal. So they had a conversation on why we don’t write bad words and talked a lot about his unresponsiveness when he has a problem or in this instance after knowing he was in a bit of trouble. I suggested he see the school guidance counselor once a week just so he has someone else to talk to and see if that helps because I worry about his shutting down. His principal agreed and he also said he will talk to his teachers about giving him a “time out” for himself (not a time out that your in trouble kind of thing) to collect himself, count to ten, do a breathing exercise he showed him and then try to get him to talk before sending him down to the office. He says, “They may be kids, but they are still people and sometimes we all just need that little time out for ourselves. We as adults need to remember that and respect that. We will help him through it.”
Thank you Mr. Principal for explaining to him why he was wrong, for respecting and listening to him, for teaching and guiding him, and for helping him.