Friday, October 1, 2010

a knife in the art room

So how would this have gone down at your school? This is the situation:

Last Friday I was teaching the 1st grade students. I was on the 3rd and last 1st grade and was having the kids line up. On the counter, near the door, was a little red sweatshirt. Kids scatter their jackets and sweatshirts all over the room all the time. I went to pick up the sweatshirt to hold it up and ask who it belonged too.

As I picked it up I heard something clunk on the counter. Someone is trying to steal some markers I thought. I lifted up the shirt and was SHOCKED to see a serrated knife with a four inch blade, OPEN, laying under the sweatshirt. WTF!!! I dropped the sweatshirt but not before the kids at the front of the line saw the knife. "Oh there is a knife!! That's T's sweatshirt." Thank god the teacher showed up right then and I whispered to her what I had found, lifted the edge of the shirt to show her. There was no question who the shirt belonged to as little T was sobbing on a desk.

The teacher and I ushered the kids out and I grabbed a older student in the hall to go to the office and tell them I was having an emergency. Soon the VP showed up, saw the sobbing kid, saw the knife, rolled his eyes and went to get the SMS. (PS she and I do not like each other at all) She stormed in, grabbed the knife and left the kid. Well what is outside my door but my 4th grade class ready for their art time. I asked their teacher to seat them and tried to get T to stand up and follow me. The 4th graders are staring and asking what happened. I need T out. I try pushing his out of the room in his chair but he grabs the leg of the table and wont budge. Where is the SMS! Shouldn't she have come back for him?

I dash across the hall and tell the SMS she needs to get the boy, huff puff, whine, moan she comes and drags him out by his arm while he lies on the floor, a 8th grade teacher walks by and scoops up the kid and takes him away. We push on forward with 4th grade class.

I know our district has a zero tolerance policy on weapons. I know T's parents come to the school on Monday and I don't really hear anything about it after that. Yesterday I realized I would see the 1st graders again today. I go to little T's teacher to see what happened as a consequence.

So what do you think his consequence was? What would it be at your school? Stay tuned to find out what happened in our urban art room.


  1. Oh Boy_ WTF I could quite reasonably expect some response from the SMS - If not I would certainly be looking for a response from the class teacher and of not I would ask the school principal.It is quite unacceptable to have a child no matter what age with knives.
    It is one of my greatest fears ever. I know however That I do have the full support of the Administration team . Good luck _ would love to hear how it all works out. I would not have the child back in the classroom until you have some answer. Mind you scissors can also be a prob.
    Cheryl H
    Perth Australia

  2. Hi, I am a high school art teacher. Don't you just hate it when stuff like this happens. Our students are automatically sent to an alternative school if it is determined that they were using it as a weapon when it was seen. If they just have it with them (not in use) they are sent to in-school suspension. Good luck. Oh, what is SMS?

  3. I don't know what SMS is either. The child would definitely gone straight to the office at our school. Parents would have been called at once and either in-school suspension or out-of-school suspension would have happened. That's scary. You just never know.

  4. I also don't know what SMS stands for - I've been trying to guess that an S stands for Security or perhaps Supervisor? But the M? I don't know.

    As for what would happen in my school - it's totally inconsistent. One day the kid might be suspended (but extremely unlikely for a 1st grader), and another day there might be no consequence. Inconsistent administration. I'd assume parents would be called,but don't know beyond that. We've been having some challenges with a couple of spec ed kids with severe problems that have bruised staff members and are not being removed, so I don't trust administration to do the right thing. But I would hope that if an incident happened in my classroom, that I would be brought into any discussion of outcome.

    I know you said you are in an urban school. Can you tell us more about your district?

  5. SMS = student management specialist (fancy name for a dean of students...aka who is really an ex science teacher who is not an administrator but likes to think she is one )

  6. ACK! a couple years ago a kid reached into his pocket and "showed" me a joint. he said "gee, how'd THIS get here". I immediately called for help, got the kid out, etc. What happened? Nothing. "they" threw it away!

    Good luck with this...can't wait to hear the result!

  7. I really like your blog. I can relate. I had a kid and his dad come by one morning last week. The dad is rarely around but he wanted to know how his son was doing in art. Thankfully he has been doing very well and much better than last year. After I sang his praises I found out that a knife was discovered in his bookbag. He claimed that his brother borrowed his bookbag and the knife was his. This brother is one that I taught a few years ago. He is now in middle school and was at the alternative school if not still there. I just somehow don't think a middle schooler would borrow a spider man backpack. I don't know what happened but he was probably suspended for a few days. How do we teach with all the other crap? Just this year I have had to start the pick up and drop off thing. Yes, it takes a lot of time out of your class period. Yet more and more is asked of teachers, we are paid less and no raises in our state, and students and parents are not held accountable.