Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A cry for help

I think I helped save a kid's life yesterday.

This kid, "Brian," has always been a surly boy. I've taught him for two years now and he's very smart, very fat and growing fatter, and hates the world. He's not a bad kid; he's actually very nice sometimes and helps people with their assignments. When we couldn't figure out how to transfer a video from a Mac laptop to a PC desktop he figured it out so the group - not his - was able to do their presentation.

But he's always really crabby. He doesn't eat lunch with anybody and doesn't have any friends. It's not because he's an outcast. Frequently the other students in the class invite him to lunch but he always turns them down. Even though he always acts like everybody else is a complete idiot the kids respect his opinion when he speaks. My students are amazing people.

Lately he's stopped doing any work. He's ballooned to obesity levels. He sits with a glare on his face the whole class period.

There's another kid, "Victor," in the class who drives me up the wall. Victor loves to hear himself talk and does not stop talking no matter what's going on. He has the attention span of a gnat but needs attention constantly. When he's absent I get to teach. So every time Victor interrupts me to make some lame ass joke Brian asks me if he can kill him. I always say no, but act like I'm considering it. It's been an ongoing joke for a year now.

But yesterday it turned serious. Brian didn't seem like he was joking. And when Victor mumbled something under his breath Brian turned to him and said, "I'll break your neck."

"Do it," Victor said.

Brian got up out of his chair and grabbed Victor's neck.

For about a second I thought he was going to murder him. I really thought Brian was going to break his neck. The rest of the class still thought it was a joke so nobody did anything, but I saw their faces as Brian tried to put Victor in a choke hold. This was not for fun.

Both of these boys are considerably larger than me so all I could do was stand next to them and try to talk Brian into letting go. Eventually he did, then returned to his desk.

They glared at each other for a while as I tried to calm the class and return to the lesson.

My boss came in to make an announcement about textbooks. I followed her out and told her what happened. She took Brian away.

She talked to Brian. The counselor talked to Brian. Then the nurse, then his mom.

It turns out Brian has been thinking of killing himself. He stopped doing homework, started talking about killing people, started being mean to everybody. Nobody noticed. So he tried to strangle a student.

Finally the boy got someone's attention.

He's been set up with a doctor to get some help losing weight so he can be physically healthy and he'll be seeing a therapist starting immediately.

I'm really glad he tried to strangle Victor. If he hadn't, he might have tried to kill us all.

If only it would shut Victor up.


  1. That's sad and beautiful all at once .... there's your story.

  2. Would not be surprised to find that big Bri has some serious chemical issues going (hormones, endocrine, etc) that are contributing to all his problems.


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