Says his dedicated aide. By this time, it’s April and that he has eaten a butterfly doesn’t surprise me one bit. I should have known better than to take a kid, who compulsively eats everything (including stuff that’s on the floor), to a butterfly exhibit at the Natural History Museum. It’s my own stupid fault. God, I hope it was a poisonous one, so he dies and I don’t have to deal with him anymore.
I know that’s mean. I don’t want Raji dead. I do, however, want him in a facility that can meet his needs. We can’t meet those needs; but my special education coordinator, who lies about everything, keeps trying to convince his attorney that this is an appropriate placement, and it’s not. He needs intensive behavioral therapy; he’s very low functioning.
He does get a new placement. Can you guess when? Yup, for the next school year. So, I have Raji terrorizing my class every day for 180 days. And I think he was there for the full 180 days because his parents would send him with a fever, they’d send him puking… Shit, they might have sent him to school if he was dead.
I had to call child protective services on his parents. It is not legal to send your kid to school in a dirty diaper every day. That’s just not allowed. That’s called neglect. They also wouldn’t pick him up if the school called home sick. So, it’s my job as a teacher to report abuse or neglect of a child. Well, Raji’s being neglected and I don’t want to lose my job if there’s real abuse happening at home.
I call Child and Family Services and report the incident and they call Raji’s parents. His parents are devastated. They are really nice people, but they have too many kids. Raji requires a lot of attention and they have four other children, one of which is special ed as well (not as bad as Raji though). After the bout with social services, they invite me over to show me that Raji isn’t being abused or neglected, but also to let me know that he isn’t as bad as I say he is at school.
My fiancé and I attend this birthday party for Raji. His dad was so excited because they got him a big trampoline (very therapeutic for kids with autism, something about the bounce). They invite the whole damn family over and then some. These people are African and there are many of them. They all have a bunch of kids. Anyway, we’re there at this party, on a Saturday, for a student I can barely stand five days a week. Why do I insist on torturing myself?
Well, the party isn’t that bad and Raji is his usual self – ornery, into everything, and totally ignoring me. There was one weird thing that did happen and made me wonder about parents today. The kids at the party were shaking up sodas and then opening them and letting the sodas squirt into the air. They did this repeatedly (must have wasted like 25 sodas) and no one said a word. It was the oddest thing. If I had done that when I was little, I would’ve gotten my ass beat. Parents are so different these days.
In any event, Raji also grew on me. He was never my baby like Amy, but he was just so adorable that you couldn’t be mad at him when he was eating his poo or digging through the trash. He has a special place in my heart. I do wish he could’ve spoken sometimes though. I’d just love to know what the hell was going through his brain. When I die, I want to spend the entire 08-09 school as Raji, I’d like to know how he sees things. I know how I saw him, as a terror at first, but then as a unique 7-year-old boy, who would impress upon me the value of patience and tolerance.