Thursday, April 29, 2010

EBD Kids Go To Camp.

News from my old room is very sad.  Very sad, indeed.  

Last week was 6th grade overnight camp.   A time intensive preparation of EBD kiddos has always been necessary to ensure their success.  Luckily all the teachers that go believe strongly, passionately, unquestioningly that this camp is good for my EBD kiddos.  Bless their hearts.  And it ALWAYS turns out to be a really good thing.  My kiddos come back exhilarated and more confident.  OK, it only lasts a few days and often times that high has worn off over the weekend of being back in their dysfunctional families, but hey, they feel good for 2 1/2 days.  We will take it.

So, flashback to three years ago. 

One year I had a kiddo who was 12 going on 30 as an inmate, had gang affiliations, a mother who earned extra cash spending time with men of all sorts on the sleeper sofa in the living room and whose breast fell out of her shirt numerous times during an IEP meeting go to camp.  

But he almost didn't. 

But because we had prepared several backup plans and enlisted our PSL to go to camp that year we got him there.  We knew he would try to sabotage it.  We knew he was anxious.  We knew the beautiful world of camp was a foreign to him as Italy and as such seemed quite scary to my kiddo.   But being the thug he was, he could not show his fear.... we knew he would do all he could to make it look like he wanted to go all the while throwing boulders in front of himself so he would not have to go.

Remember, I have been doing this 18 years.  I was totally on to him.
So I had gathered ALL things on the packing list two days ahead of time and had them in my room.  I went through it all with him so he was familiar with it.  Sleeping bag, flashlight, toothbrush and toothpaste, deodorant, soap, extra socks... all the stuff we knew he did not have.  

As Thug left school the afternoon before they were to leave for camp, he was saying he was going and would be at school on time the next morning.  

I knew better.  He still had not turned in the permission slip even though I gave his a new one every single day for two weeks.

So, Thug shows up right at the bell the next morning with no permission slip, no extra clothes and says, he just cannot go, he forgot all his stuff.

Ah shucks,  SORRY Mr. Thug!  You are going.  Back up plan in place, we stuff Mr. Thug in LD teacher who was going to camp's car.  She drives like a bat out of hell to his house, gets Thug's mom out of bed, shoves the permission slip at her with a pen, and tells our boy to get packing.  He has 10 minutes as the bus was waiting for him at school.  His mom was very bleary eyed and although it was explained to her that her dear little thug would be gone for two nights, she didn't retain that bit of information...not that she looked for her missing thug that night or anything..... but she did make a call to the school the second day in wondering if her dear thug made it to school that morning!  

This is where I could start a rant about social services, but I will spare you.

Anyway, they make it back to school in time.  Mr. Thug gets on the bus and off they go.

Then I get the call.  THE. CALL.      

From camp.

From the PSL who was at camp.

I almost did not answer the phone when I saw who it was.

But I answered and here is what I heard.

"Mrs. Teacher!  This is Thug!  Thanks for making me go to camp!  I am having a blast!  See you Friday!"  

Flash forward to this year in EBDland.  Where I am not.

Student girl with major mental health problems as well as gender identity issues goes to camp.  Girl is a chronic bed wetter.  We are talking big bed ruining puddles every night.  I know this about her.  I have worked with her for 4 years.  My paras knew this about her.... but nobody... NOBODY!!!! (including Girl's mother) prepared her or the others for this.  No Depends were packed by mom, no school personnel made sure this was covered.  They just sent her to camp to wet her sleeping bag and ruin her cot.  For two nights in a row.

Well, gee, she already has no friends and is considered really weird by her peers.  So let's send her to camp with no support for this nighttime problem of hers.  

So, for two nights in a row she flooded her sleeping bag.  Sleeping bag got hung outside to dry the first morning.  The second morning, Girl knew she was going home later that day so just did not report the bed wetting to anyone.  Predictably,  Girl got really defensive and ugly when others noticed and unkindly ridiculed her.  The rest of the day was difficult and she came back to school with everyone thinking she is even a bigger loser and she is even more alienated.

Good job, everyone.  Good job.

1 comment:

  1. I remember Thug SO WELL -- and how well he did at camp. I remember being disappointed when his defensive attitude came back immediately after we returned. At least, at the very least, he now has a memory of what life can be like with a secure roof over his head and three good meals a day. Oh, yes, and people around him who care.


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