Can I cry on your shoulder?

I have just had a rotten day. A day that makes me want to quit teaching. It actually makes me want to quit life.

I have a student who is in second grade. Her IQ is 60 which is mentally retarded and she’s really really low. She is not able to write her own name, she doesn’t know where she lives, nothing. But she is a really really sweet girl and she tries so hard. Well she’s had some attendance issues and she’s routinely dirty and unkempt and mom has been to court to maintain custody of her. It came to my attention this week that she has been walking home a ridiculously long way all by herself. This is a girl who doesn’t know where she lives, what her phone number is, and would get in a car with a stranger. She is not cognitively able to walk home by herself. In this ridiculously long walk, she is crossing a major road with no assistance. She does not have socks on, she has no hat and she has no gloves. It is 15 degrees out. On Wednesday the bus driver took her back to the barn and waited for someone to come get Z. Mom finally showed up at 6:45, high as a kite and wanted to take her home. At this point in time, rather than changing the bus stop, mom decides to sign a paper stating that Z can walk home all by herself. Mom also informed the bus driver that they are homeless. Thursday night no one is at the bus stop again. So today I had to call Children’s Services. I spent all day on the phone trying to talk to her case worker, her court appointed guardian, FCCS, and the bus driver trying to make sure this little girl didn’t have to get on that bus. Finally FCCS has me call the police to come pick her up and take her to the intake station. Not even five minutes before the police officer showed up, Z’s case worker came. There was some discussion and the case worker ended up taking Z home. She took Z home. To a house, or maybe no house b/c Z says she doesn’t live there. To a place where Z sleeps on a mattress on the floor that she shares with another little girl. To a house where Z is left in charge of her 1 year old brother for extended periods of time. To a house where, when we buy her a new coat, Auntie takes it away from her and gives it to her cousins. To a house where her mom is on drugs and takes the money that Z’s bus driver gave Z to buy books from Scholastic for drugs. Z should have been removed from that house. She should not have been sent home.

How do things like this happen?


15 thoughts on “Can I cry on your shoulder?

  1. That is so awful. I’m sorry honey, I know its tough. Especially when you try so hard to do something good and it doesn’t work. I hate that!

  2. I’m really feeling for you right now. I wish situations like this didn’t exit. It’s not the kids’ fault, but they’re the most effected.

  3. I hate this stuff. You poor thing.

    I had a friend who was in a similar situation with a student, and she called the local news channel. Her school wasn’t very happy with her, but the little boy got placed somewhere other than his destructive home.

    Not saying you should do this, but I do know where you’re coming from. I just blogged about the difficulties of teaching special ed; so many of the situations just break your heart into pieces.

  4. girl, my heart hurts for you. that’s the biggest reason that i walked away from teaching. not to throw motherly advice at you, but… what my mom told me really helped.

    you can’t save the world. as much as you want to, you are not going to be able to fix this childs life forever. but what you CAN do is make your time with them as wonderful and rewarding as possible.

    for the few hours a day that shes with you, do what you can. you seem so much like me… i always wanted to go above and beyond when it came to the kids i was teaching. just keep doing what you’re doing, because you ARE making a difference, even if it’s just a small one.


  5. Absolutely heartbreaking. What, exactly, is the point of all these social service agencies if they don’t do a damn thing and poor little Z must continue to live like this?

  6. AHH! I’m feeling this so much right now. I’m a teacher too and there’s absolutely NOTHING worse than feeling completely helpless when it comes to the care and well-being of a child you know deserves better than what they are getting. I’m sorry you are going through this and I hope that something changes in this situation soon. In the meantime, take comfort in knowing that for at least part of the day she’s being cared for by someone who is really looking out for her- you.

  7. Wow. Powerful post ad such a tragic reality. How anyone can treat a child so heartlessly I’ll never know.
    Your care means more than you will ever know, though.

  8. Oh Kari, this breaks my heart. Why do things like this happen? Seriously? When kids are involved in situations like this, it just kills me.

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