Wednesday, February 1, 2012

No Child Left Behind?

Several years ago I was working as an assistant principal at a tough urban school with a large Hispanic population.  One of our Hispanic students mother called and told us that her 6th grade daughter brought 600 dollars in cash to school and 'gave it away.'  I immediately had my doubts as the families we were servicing didn't have lots of money.  Further, if a nickle hit the ground, it was gone in seconds and no one knew anything about it.  Even if the story was true, the odds of me actually being able to retrieve the money was pretty damn slim.

The 6th grade bilingual classroom was in the upstairs of a fairly large building.  There was an empty room at the end of the hall that was used for IEP meetings which I used from time to time when I didn't want to walk all the way back to my down stairs office to speak with students.

The story I got was that the girl had given six different boys 100 dollars each.  She was relatively new to the country and had no understanding of the value of the money.  Supposedly she gave the money to the boys so they'd be her friend.

I grabbed the six boys and the girl and brought them into the empty room.  I pounded my fist on the table and yelled "You all better give me that money right now!"  Amazingly, four of the six boys instantly pulled out the hundred dollar bills and nervously put them on the table (one other kid brought the hondo  back a day later, the other kid spent his and his parents said he wasn't giving the money back).  I couldn't believe it.

I barked at them for a while about how they should have known better (blah, blah, blah) and then left to take them back to class.  I told the girl to sit tight and I would be talking to her some more when I finished with the boys.  I continued to lecture the boys as we walked back to the classroom, dropped them off, and then went on with my day.

Around 2:30, maybe 20 minutes till the end of the school day, the girl walked into the office crying.  "The man told me wait in the room!"  I had forgotten her!  She sat in that empty room for four hours, missed lunch, and was too scared to move!  I felt terrible!  Normally, this would obviously not have sat well with a parent, but when you're able to return a wad of hundred dollar bills it tends to ease tension!

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