Monday, 3 October 2016

Getting suspended from school

is apparently on the increase here. I am waiting for the Senior Cat to get up and read the article which starts on the front page. He did suspend one child, once. It worried him dreadfully. It was a decision taken after months of trying to find ways to accommodate the child in school, after the parents had been called in more than once, after the school inspector, the psychologist and a senior member of the Education Department had been consulted.
The school was very quiet for the rest of the term. Everyone apparently breathed a sigh of relief. 
There was another very disturbed child in a school I worked in. He was sent to the headmaster's office more than once. His teacher tried to be understanding because his single mother was an alcoholic and he was, to all intents and purposes, looking after himself.  She told me one day, "He just puts his  hands over his ears and stops listening."
I suggested she give him his work to do and he could sit in my little office off the library and do it there. The head said, "Give it a try."
Next morning he turned up looking terrified but I just smiled, showed him the space I had made for him and said something like, "If there's something you don't understand ask me."
By the end of the morning he had completed all his work and was reading a book - something he hadn't been willing to admit he could do. It took weeks before he admitted to me, 
    "I can't do work with everyone else there. I want it to be quiet, just me."
We tried easing him back into the classroom but he couldn't handle it. He stayed with me instead. He did his work. He did well. I don't know what happened to him the following year because I left the school. My guess is that they put him back in the classroom - and he didn't cope. He was a child with genuine problems who needed a different learning environment. 
It makes me wonder about some of the children who are being suspended now. Mention is made in the article of the problems being caused by "screen time" and "social media bullying" and more. I don't doubt those things are a problem, an increasing problem. 
But, I also wonder whether sensory overload isn't a problem too. Perhaps some children would do much better if they simply had some quiet in their lives, some mental space to spread themselves and their thoughts out.

No comments: