We’ll call him Bobby
The Adventures of Miss Tee and the Little Yellow School Buses.
As I mentioned before, I have been working with students with special needs for close to 20 years. I have had seen hundreds of kids come and go through the years but there’s always a few that stand out, be it for good or bad reasons. There’s always a few that leave an imprint in your brain. You may forget a dozen faces but there’s always one face or name that you don’t. I have a such a story about a kid that we’ll call Bobby. Bobby, as of 2022, is in his early 30s. I know that because by chance his stepfather was my Lyft driver one day and we got to talking about where I work and he made a comment that his son Bobby had gone to the school I work at. Long story short , Bobby is alive. Is he well? Who can say?
Back when I had Bobby as a student he was about 14 or 15. Tall kid, solid as a rock and his strength was unbelievable. That’s another thing about some of these kids with special needs is they are so strong, it takes your breath away. Sometimes it literally takes your breath away especially if they snatch you up during an episode. Again, no training for that but that’s another rant for another day. There were several kids in this class, a moderate to severe high school classroom. Moderate to severe could mean anything from a learning disability to a physical disability.
In Bobby’s case, he has autism. He is non verbal but looking at him you would think he was “normal”. But you see Bobby…Bobby was aggressive. Violent, even. He had a 1:1 aide who watched over him. That aide, who was old back then, is working to this day so you can see what’s going on. Why would you give a man old enough to be this kid’s great-grandfather a young boy like this? A boy who could tear him apart if he so chose. Make it make sense y’all. This brotha Bobby needed someone young who could deal with him when he lost it or had a major episode.
Now I know you’re thinking I probably volunteered to help the older aide with Bobby? I absolutely did not do that. As they said in Boondocks, “couldn’t be me though”. This young dude was too strong for me. When his aide would play fight with him, Bobby would smile but it wasn’t a friendly smile. Bobby wanted all the smoke is what I’m getting at. He would look at the teacher and aides like we’re just mere mortals. I wanted no parts of it.
One day, we’re sitting in the classroom and I have a group of kids with me at a big table. We were probably doing math or reading or something when all of a sudden, I felt a cold gust of wind on my back. “What happened?” I said. Something’s not right up in here. The energy is off. I’m looking around the room and everything seems to be as it should. The teacher, not doing her job, on the computer looking up whatever. Some of the kids are asleep cause they can’t and Bobby is with his aide on the mat having just finished eating.
Now this all happened in slow motion like you see in movies…Bobby gets up off the mat and runs to a cabinet by the bathroom. This particular cabinet has the class phone on top of it as well as a box of blocks. He karate chops the blocks and phone off the cabinet. Now being this is a special Ed room, kids are prone to acting out so having a kid have a meltdown isn’t gonna shock anyone. But Bobby…Bobby was a whole other level. All of a sudden he picks up a chair and throws it. That’s outrageous enough but what makes it more galling is there was a person in the chair he threw. That’s how strong Bobby was. That got everybody’s attention. The teacher snaps out of it and gets up, myself and another aide get up and Bobby’s 1:1 rushes on over to de escalate the situation.
As I mentioned before, there has been no training or classes on how to deal with a student like this. None. But we gotta be careful and make sure everyone in the room was safe. Bobby threw the student but thankfully didn’t go after them. The student in the chair was unharmed…easy for me to say but for real, they were good. Bobby, on the pier hand, was agitated. His aide and the teacher were trying to calm him down. Myself and the other aide tended to the other kids in the class and attempted to calm them down. Many times when one kid goes off, it sets off behaviors in other students. But Bobby had everybody shook so there were no other outbursts from other kids.
Bobby was thrashing wildly as those two people tried to restrain him. He’s non verbal so he can’t communicate what the problem is. I don’t remember if Bobby practiced ASL (American Sign Language) so I can’t say if he signed what his issue was but after a good five minutes, they were able to get Bobby outside to relax and collect himself. The kids look at us, we’re looking at the kids, we all look at the broken blocks and knocked over phone. We then look at the teacher who says we need to call Bobby’s mom cause the brotha needs to go home. The mother arrives about an hour later and she is so tiny. I’m thinking this woman has to deal with this boy who is only going to get bigger and stronger as he gets older. Lord help this lady.
And to sum it up, she could not handle taking care of Bobby. It turns out after school, while she was at work, his grandparents would watch him. Grandparents, y’all. They cannot handle this boy. He’s only 14 or 15 at this time. What’s he going to be like when he’s 16? 17? 25? The mom probably thought the same thing because next thing we know, Bobby is pulled out of our school and placed in a home that takes care of boys with severe disabilities. Remember I mentioned meeting Bobby’s stepfather? He said Bobby still lives in this home but that Bobby stays with his mom and him for the weekend. However, he gets extremely aggressive when the weekend is over and he has to go back home. Extremely aggressive? Oh you don’t say? Wouldn’t know anything about that. That’s sarcasm, folks.
Anyhow, that’s one adventure…trust me there are plenty more. Until next time….