Many students are memorable for the wrong reasons.
This experience was started with a juvenile judge’s decision.
The same spring quarter Marl Boromann was in my first period class I had a student in sixth period nearly everyone had been calling Tom Miegunn. Like Marl, he entered the first day of the quarter, so I didn’t know him.
Real Name had all the stereotype behaviors of a loner. He sat in the desk farthest from mine and it didn’t matter to me – I had no seating chart. However, the first behavior of the other students was their not talking to him and filling up desks away from him. My first suspicion was BO, but that was not so.
After everyone had left for the day, I saw the book and orientation papers I had given him still under the desk. I figured his being new and not having conversations with other students, he wanted to just get away. I put his name on a sticky note and put the book and papers next to the student assignment in box.
My surprise was when Real put a book assignment in the drop box when he came in. Another student was turning in an admit after absence ticket so my only words to him were, “Your book is there,” as I pointed. He took it to the back desk. Other students’ reactions were the same as the day before. I made a mental note to get acquainted with him before the dismissal bell rang.
I gave my lesson for the day, answered student questions, and assigned a set of problems from the book. Most students took advantage of the remaining class time to work on the assignment, some did work for other classes, and Real just sat. I had it in mind to talk with him, but as the squeaky wheel gets the grease, I was answering a flurry of questions from students working on the assignment. All but a few squeaky wheels left as did Real. His book was on the desk.
He was tardy with an admit as excused slip from the attendance office and the Wednesday routine was much as the previous two. On the way to the Wednesday afternoon staff meeting, I had a grade transfer slip from Real’s 3rd quarter teacher. I had thought he was new to the school but put the new information aside as a lost in the shuffle.
At the end of the routine meeting, Real’s teachers were asked to stay behind. “As you know,” the principal started, “Real Name has been attending here under juvenile court order.”
I was in the 10% who didn’t get the word. Well, 17% because he had 6 teachers during the day.
The principal continued with what had been reported to the judge in order to have the student tutored at the juvenile detention facility. Having had him only a few days in class, I hadn’t been involved in the behavior documenting process. Both students and teachers were intimidated with knowledge of what he was capable of doing. A number of students were actually doing his homework as a favor under covert pressure.
The Tom Miegunn pseudonym I had not attached to Real Name in my class came from his firing an automatic rifle at his former girlfriend’s home in a neighboring town.
The judge changed his order to 24/7 incarceration for Real Name and a retired teacher was hired to tutor at the juvenile facility.