“Coger a su madre,” came from the lips of the sixth grade middle school boy. At that point I knew that he had said something about my mother and it wasn’t good. Since I didn’t speak Spanish, I was unaware of exactly what the student had said, but I did know that I had been sworn at. He had sworn at me because I had taken away his school work to get him to go outside for a private talk. The private talk was in response to his calling me a “tomato.” Not being familiar with the latest student insults, I had asked him to “step outside.” He refused. Then after sever repeated attempts, his work was taken away.
My co-teacher shouted out, “Don’t swear at a teacher.” as the student walked out of class for the Dean’s office. My co-teacher knew what it meant. And I later found out after a Teacher Appreciation Luncheon that afternoon that the student had said, “Fuck your mother.” It was then that I realized that the deterioration of student attitude had gone on way too long and way too far. I knew that any teacher with a conscience had to go public about the state of affairs in public education.
Now I knew that this crude insult couldn’t be personal. The student never knew my mother. But it was the principle of the whole matter that bothered me the most. It boggled my imagination that a child of 11 could actually have so much disrespect for a teacher and so little fear of consequences that he would stoop to this level of depravity to express his puerile anger with such ignorant gravitas. Did he really know what he was saying and why did he feel free to say this when he was angry over such a trivial matter? Was it just a newly popular phrase to anger adults by replacing last year’s popular phrase, “Fuck me in the ass”? Or the year before, “Suck my cock”? If hope can be hoped for beyond what seems to be a hopeless situation, “Fuck your mother” will be just a one time shot by one aggravated student. We’ll see next year.
Possibly these youthful fonts of filth have within the last couple years become bored with pleasing their peers with insults like fucker, bitch, gay, asshole, mother fucker, cock sucker and other more commonly used degrading language and had begun to press the envelope further by this reference to fucking someone’s mother. I would shiver with dread at attempting to predict what next year’s new degeneracy will turn out to be. Possibly “lick your mother’s cunt” or “suck your father’s dick”. Where will it stop? I’m sorry to say, it will probably never stop. What a cheery future we have waiting for us with this immoral unconscionable crap emerging into our culture. And for those not in touch with the public education experience, surprises do await.
And so back to the boy and his trench mouth mentality. That same day I communicated to his mother that he would be suspended. I failed to mention that a union suspension would only suspend him from one class for two days. The principal was quick to tell me that a union suspension was opposed by the School Board, who didn’t approve of suspensions at all, not even for “fuck your mother.” But my text to the mother promising an undefined suspension was enough to jar her into finally responding. This was in stark contrast to the silence I had gotten to previous texts imploring her to come to school for a parent teacher conference. You see I had previous to this incident texted her three times informing her that her son did very little in class and refused to speak to his teachers. This had deeply concerned all of us on the school staff and I had decided to pursue a student study team to determine what his problem was. The mother in response failed to show up for two student study team meetings, but we had found from his cums in the process that she had not been to a parent teacher conference since first grade.
So finally I got her attention. I guess the “fuck your mother” notification sort of rang a bell similar to the one that it rang for you the reader. The suspension was not done in any way to punish the child, but to get a response from the mother. Unfortunately this is necessary for so many disengaged parents. Parental disengagement is one of the primary educational problems in our population of students.
In addition to the suspension notification I let the mother know that her child would have to write 500 standards after school. She gave tentative approval of this, but wanted him to do the standards at home. Knowing that he might not be the one to do the standards, I insisted that he do them after school.
At this point the relationship with the mother went down hill. The next text I got from her stated that I was to refrain from speaking to her child and that he would not speak to me. My reaction was one of absolute amazement. Could the mother actually believe that the appropriate resolution to this serious situation was that I not speak to her son nor he to me and that she had the authority to tell me not to speak? Well, this put me in the position of quickly texting her that I was one of his teachers and that I would speak to him when I wished. I also let her know that she needed to make an appointment for a parent teacher conference which would include one of the principals, the school psychologist, a counselor, and his teachers. She replied that she did not want to meet with the school psychologist and that she had put in an urgent message to the vice principal for a meeting. It was at this point that my communication with the mother ceased. I was advised not to communicate further until the parent teacher conference.
However, clues to the mother’s thinking continued to surface.
“You can’t talk to me,” the boy said the next day in class.
“I will talk to you when I want,” I said.
“I’m getting a restraining order,” he replied as though he’d been coached with this reply.
“I’ll get my attorney and see you in court,” I said struggling desperately to suppress my laughter. God, I though to myself, no wonder we had trouble getting him to speak to us and as much trouble getting him to do any work. His mother had probably trained him to respond this way to teacher adversity since shortly after an adversarial encounter with his first grade teacher.
And so now her son has just told me to “fuck my mother” and she doesn’t want me to speak to him. What world does this woman live in? Probably in the world of so many K-12 enabling mothers who stand beside their little darlings no matter what – even to the point of complete absurdity. Probably the last thing parents should do is give their children permission to repeat their mistakes by sheltering them from criticism and punishment, especially when this criticism and punishment is not excessive and is obviously justified. Actually the mother should have encouraged me to firmly and strictly punish her child because I might be actually saving his life. Such behavior on the street in the school’s neighborhood could result in his being either stabbed or shot. But no, he was not fortunate enough to have such a mother.
So every day I went into this student’s fourth period class right before lunch to pick him up for lunch detention, since the enabling mother by this time had made it clear to me that she would not give permission for after school detention. I made it clear to the boy that he would continue to go to lunch detention every day until the standards were completed and the boy responded by saying he would not do the standards.
For the remaining two weeks of school he was taken to lunch detention. I made clear to him the conditions for release from this punishment. He replied that he had no intension of doing the standards. I was firm in my resolved to show him the response for recalcitrance and unrepentance. He was taken to lunch detention until the last day of school and his mother never came in for a parent-teacher conference even at the repeated requests of the vice principal and the counselor.
Barclay Totten copyright 2017
Image Credit: http://www.suggest-keywords.com/Y3ViYW4gZGFkZGllcw/ Public Domain