Sunday, July 02, 2006

David's Story Part 56: Conversation with the Dean of Student


Want to hear a shocker? David went to school today afterall.

When David got home from school I talked to him. He said that he and Robert went to the appointment with Ted together who recommended that they take a break and see if they missed each other. "So you won't be seeing Robert for a while?" David shrugs, "Well, we're not dating." (I have no idea what that means.)

"David, I have your report card. What is your plan for all these absences?
It looks pretty grim."

"Oh, it's okay. My teacher says I will just have to petition again, but it is not a big deal."

I lost it -- not with David though. I told the kids that I had to run an errand and I went down to the school to talk to the teacher. She was not there. So I went back to the Dean of Students. By the time I got into his office I was wiping tears out of my eyes. "Come here...let me give you a hug." "No. I really don't want to hug anyone. I am as much angry as I am sad."

Now here's the strange part (for him, I guess). When parents who have children in big trouble come to administrators upset they are nearly always there to ask for mercy. That I was angry because the school was not going to enforce their own rules and potentially kick him out just did not compute. Mr. C kept trying to reassure me, "We are actually really lenient with seniors...let's see, he's at 8-10 absences now. If he has at least a C we would give him credit even with 12 or 13 absences.

I was stunned. For two months I had been taking grief from David and not fighting with him. I had been worried about him and he had finally screwed up so much that it was over...or nearly over. I was ready for that. Now the dean of students was telling me that the marathon race was not over, somehow I had to find the energy to keep going.

I started crying in earnest now. "But he is just going to keep cutting. He is not sick. He's just spending time in The City with his friends. He manufactures psychological drama that he feels he has to attend to, but it is just wanting to be there. He does not want to be here. I really think he is doing this because he wants to get kicked out."

Mr. C is now really concerned. Here this poor man is trying to tell the upset mother that he will help her son and she just starts crying harder, "Oh no. We won't kick him out. We really try to help the seniors. If his grades are strong we could even give him credit with as many as 15 absences."

There is something funny about it now, but at the time it was tragic. "You're not going to tell *him* that, are you?!"

Poor guy...he is really confused. "What do you want me to do?"

"I want you to scare the shit out of him! I want you to tell him that if he doesn't straighten himself out and stop skipping school that he will be in serious trouble."

Oh. That he can do. Now we are on the same page.

So hopefully the dean is talking to him right now. I have to talk to him when I get home. I don't know what I am going to say, but I'm no longer interested in being sweet so he won't get angry and leave.

Let's see...I could tell him that he has to spend break looking for a job. Or maybe that if he has one more absence we're done? Or that he has to sign up for the GED program?

It was a short day at school. I went home early so that I would be there when David came home, but David had left school early. He was gone and so was his suitcase. He would not answer his cell phone.

The dean had not had a chance to talk to him about school.

David's Story Part 1: The Beginning
David's Story Part 57: Final Plan

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