I’d hoped ‘Friendship Island TM’ might be my salvation. Roisin had taken the increasingly temperamental Zak into her office and the board game seemed to have calmed him. We even completed his motor skills test in the playground, as the sun came out. We marched on the spot, tiptoed along lines and tossed a ball around, all in the name of mental health evaluation. For the first time in some time, I saw him smiling and laughing.
The previous day, I’d created a single human barricade to stop him getting his arse kicked, by every child he’s managed to annoy so far. At the end, as Roisin asked him if he’d had a nice day, he bluntly said ‘No’. I quickly seconded it. It could be worse, another Teaching Assistant told me of a child who brought a knife into school. She was 10.
I released a lot of pent-up frustration during a Māori War Dance. All the kids and staff joined in, wearing our red white and blue, as a mark of respect for the people of Haiti. Zak sat brooding on the sidelines, ‘Friendship Island’ population: 0.