I recently shared Miss Snuffleupagus’s opinion that the best thing for some of her black students is indeed to send them back to Africa, where they can’t help but learn discipline and respect.
Pretty Boy has basically threatened a teacher with his statement ‘Just you wait till next week. It’s my way or the highway.’ So I get him excluded internally for a day and call his dad. I tell the dad the camel’s back is broken. We’re going to take steps to bring this to a close and move (eventually) to permanent exclusion. His father is so angry that he has to get off the phone. He is fed up. Pretty Boy is in Year 10 and his father has had 3 years of heartache.
Pretty Boy’s father is a self-made man, who has had little formal education, but through business, is now a very rich man. He is only 32, and Pretty Boy is 14. When Pretty Boy became too much for his mother to handle, (about a year and a half ago), he went to live with his dad and went on report to me.
Dad spends a lot of time with his son. He takes him on trips to various parts of the globe. This summer he sent him to Ghana for the summer so that he could see what ‘real’ life was like and what would await him if he ever got kicked out of school.
Having rung Dad, a few hours later, after school, sitting in my office, I see Pretty Boy in the car park with his father. Things seem heated, so I go outside to speak to Dad. They are stood rigidly, as if they are about to fight, their noses practically pressed against each other.
‘I’m gonna fucking knock your block off!’ Shouts Dad. Pretty Boy says not a word, looking terrified.
Dad continues. ‘You are such a fucking fool. You’ve got everything! You’re not poor, you’ve got 2 parents who support you, you’ve got everything you want! I’m gonna kill you! You understand? There’s nothing more we can do for you! You just don’t care! You talk to your teacher like that?? YOUR WAY?? Would you talk to ME like that!? …I said… Would you fucking talk to ME like that??’
Pretty Boy kind of shakes his head in fear. The whole time I am dancing back and forth from leg to leg, wincing at every swear word that is being bellowed across the car park, for all and sundry to hear.
‘Sir, please sir,’ I stammer, ‘Please Mr Boy, I mean, I know you’re angry, but…’
Dad turns to Pretty Boy. ‘You think you’re coming back here tomorrow, do ya? Well you’ve got another thing coming. I’m taking you outta here. I don’t blame them for wanting to exclude you. You are a fucking pain in the ass. You can just stay at home for all I care. I’ll get you a tutor.’
‘Well, Mr Boy,’ I hesitate, ‘we could give Pretty Boy one more chance. The plan is for us to put him on a PSP.’
‘Umm, well, a PSP. It’s a pastoral support plan. It would be like being on report to me, but just a little more serious and supportive.’
Dad turns to the boy. ‘You hear that??’ A PSP! These people think you are fucking crazy! Are you fucking insane?? NO! All you have to do, is get to school, do your work, and come home, and you can’t fucking do it! I don’t care if they put you on a PS fucking XYZ, you’re not coming back here! What is it with all this liberal bollocks?!’
Absolutely right Mr Boy, too much liberal bollocks, but I don’t make the system which has ruined your child. Part of me is silently thinking, well maybe that’s what we want: rid of Pretty Boy. But then my heart goes out to him, stood there looking like a scared little rabbit, and I know him well, and I know if he stays home, he’ll just turn into a puddle of mud.
Dad points to the car, still screaming. ‘Get into the fucking car!’
Pretty Boy turns to me, nearly in tears. ‘Goodbye Miss.’ And gets into the car.
I start to panic. He’s telling me goodbye…? ‘Well Mr Boy, hang on a minute, you’re angry at the moment. Would be best if we made these decisions when not so heated. Let’s give him one more chance, and if he messes up just once, then you take him where you want.’
Dad marches back to the car and throws the car door open, pointing his finger in his son’s face, shouting. ‘You see that! You are such a FUCKING IDIOT! You come home and tell me all these lies and tell me how you think she hates you, how she picks on you, how you she lies about you. And here is this woman out here begging for you. And you know why? You know why she’s begging?? Cause she believes in fucking YOU, that’s why!!’
He slams the door shut and goes to the driver’s seat. ‘I have to go Miss Snuffleupagus. I’m sorry. I’m just so angry. I have to go.’