Thursday, February 08, 2007

The Line of Fire

Yesterday, for the first time in two and a half years of subbing in one of the worst school districts in the country, I was scared.

I was standing in front of a girl with a pair of scissors in each hand. She had both scissors fully opened gripping, with each hand, one blade and one handle so that they could be used as a slashing weapon. She was blindly going after the much bigger girl that had just come into my classroom and called her out for talking shit.

It has occured to me before, but never so clearly, that as a substitute teacher, you are powerless. In the event of some sort of disturbance your options are: 1) Call security, this supposes that you know the number and that the phone in your classroom actually works. 2) Go to the next door classroom and ask for help.

The thing you are never allowed to do is to put your hands on a student.

With this in mind I watched a 130 pound freshman girl grab two scissors from a tupperware container, open them, wrap her fingers around the blades and walk out of my classroom. As soon as I realized what was going on, I ran into the hallway, yelled for security and positioned my body in front of the armed, purposfully walking freshman. I don't know what I said to her, but I know she was unresponsive. Luckily, I was able to keep my body between her and the other girl for about 20 seconds before most of my class and then the neighboring teacher spilled out into the hallway. When the bigger girl who had instigated the fight by comming into my classroom saw the other teacher she took off and the other girl with the scissors didn't chase.

For two or three minutes afterwards, even as she was talking to the teacher from next door, the girl couldn't let go of the scissors. Finally a security guard came to the room and soon after the assistant principal and they took the girl to the office.

No blood was spilled. I'll be waiting for some sort of medal of distinction.


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