In Her Shell
Saturday, June 28, 2008
  A Loss And A Memory
This week one of my former students was shot and killed by the police in his hometown, right around the corner from the school.

I don't know why he tried to leave when he was pulled over. I don't know why the policeman felt he needed to shoot him. I don't know the point of entry of the bullet. I don't know why he always slept in my class or why he didn't do a research paper. I do know that he was polite, when I woke him up, when I talked to him about his failing grade. He looked sullen but he was a nice boy. Looking back, I realize that he was probably a candidate for the Student Assistance Counselor or a Student Under the Influence Form. But as a first year teacher what I knew what that he was polite, not a behavior problem, a little unmotivated.

At my first pep rally I looked into the rowdy group in the stands helplessly--wondering how I could intervene while craning my neck, over the bouncing sounds of feet stomping and voices. Like me, a first-year History teacher found this student in the crowd and called out to him, reprovingly. This teacher seemed surprised, as I was, that a nice boy, a quiet and sullen boy, was at the center of a jostling, air horn blowing, silly string shooting crowd.

We looked at this kid. We were first year teachers, we were hopeful and desperate in that mess, and he looked at us and smiled. You can't get me now, he smiled at us. Then he looked away, and didn't look down again.
 
Comments:
Oh God honey, I can't even imagine. I've had one student die (she was very sickly) and one former student (in a car crash) but I caan't imagine the horror of having a student or former student killed. My heart goes out to you and your co-workers.
 
What a terrible feeling. It's hard, especially hard for teachers I think, when a kid has one persona that he presents in school or to family, and another persona he lives by on the street.

I'm sorry.
 
I'm so sorry. That's too young to pay such a high price for a choice.
 
Thanks, all.
 
checking your blog after a long time -still greatly admiring your writing and feeling your feelings. You're a wondrous person.
 
:) Thanks
 
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