We Have To Suspend Him From School.
Dylan called, shortly after noon.
“Mom,” he said, “something happened.”
The land line started to ring.
“Hold on,” I said. “The other line is ringing.”
“Oh NO,” he wailed. “Mom, that’s going to be the school calling and they’re going to tell you something that happened that I don’t even remember doing…”
“What happened?” I said, a bit wary. The other phone was reaching its hang-up point. “Hold on, Dylan,” I said.
Dylan did not hang on. He hung up.
“There’s been an incident,” said his teacher, a calm and kind man who has never done harm to anyone. He speaks very slowly. “I just found this out today. Yesterday, apparently Dylan kicked another boy in the groin area.”
I was stone silent. Dylan is the single least violent person I’ve ever known, except for Shane.
The teacher continued. “Then he took the boy’s papers and threw them around in the hall.”
Dylan sounds like a bully, I thought. Why would he DO this?
“It was physical contact,” said the teacher, “so we have to suspend him from school for the rest of the day.”
“I can’t believe this is my son,” I said, knowing full well that it was, indeed, my son. At the same time, I wanted to say, But that’s it? One day? Shouldn’t there be more of a punishment?
Dylan sat in the office while I drove 45 minutes to pick him up.
Only yesterday, I had mentioned that his behavior could get him expelled – and that he might have to completely re-do 8th grade.
“You’ve been asking to go back to public middle school,” I’d said. “This could be your chance.”
“I’m not going to get expelled,” Dylan had spat, as if he had a crystal ball.
He seemed to be genuinely surprised by the suspension. I must admit, I wasn’t terribly surprised. He’s gotten in trouble for so many impulsive, physical things, it was just a matter of time before something he did really hurt someone.
Today, on the way home, he said, “I guess I really could get expelled.”
DUH. I wanted to say. You’d think you’d listen to your mom once in awhile! Your parents COULD be right, you know! You might just want to start doing what we say instead of doing everything the way YOU think it should be done!
Instead, I said, “Yep, I guess you could.”
He says he was just “playing around” with the boy. He always says he was just “playing around.” Dylan isn’t malicious. He doesn’t like to hurt people. He seems sincerely remorseful when someone gets hurt, whether or not it’s related to something he did.
I can’t help but think back to third grade, when he was tapping his pencil maniacally on his desk, and it flew out of his hand and hit a little girl in the back of the head.
“You could have hit her in the eye,” I told him. “She could have really gotten hurt.” He seemed to understand.
He always seems to understand. He always feels awful about what’s happened.
But until he learns to control himself – because I can’t do it for him – there’s nothing anyone else can do. Except, of course, to suspend him from school.