Small fry

It was like ‘Once Upon a Time in the West’ meets ‘The Borrowers’. As a class we entered the expansive, labyrinthine corridors of a nearby Secondary School. The bigger kids eyed their prey suspiciously, they in turn maintained a hushed reverence for their ‘Secondary consumers’ (y’see I do listen in Science lessons).

We were there as part of a rehearsal for next week’s concert. As we entered the hall, they divided the children into Altos or Sopranos. There was no line for kids mesmerised by water bottles, so I stuck Zak in with the Sopranos, he likes the Mafia after all. He proved this today, by wearing a knuckle duster he’d made from sponge ;

Me: what are you wearing that for?

Zak: protection

Me: from what? bath time?

Zak looked like a victim of a ‘whacking’, during the rehearsal. He was sprawled across a chair, with his eyes closed. I had to give a passing cleaner a reassuring smile, she was ready to bag him up. She looked ready to pounce later. This time I had to explain he was dancing, as opposed to having an epileptic fit.

Earlier in the day we’d received a presentation about ‘challenging behaviour’. For a novice like me it was all worthwhile, the consensus from some of the older hands suggested the content was idealistic and naïve. “I wanted to slap her” was one of the comments.

To make the point, the same teaching assistant went on to tell me a story about a child, she’d once supported. “He would urinate and then drink from the bowl” she told me matter-of-factly. I studied her expression to see if she was taking the piss. She wasn’t, but he had been.

She received a phone call late one night to tell her the child had run away from his Children’s home. She and her husband drove around the local area to look for him. After a few hours of fruitless searching, they received a phone call from the police. “You can call off the hunt, we’ve found him” they said, much to her relief “he’s on your roof”….


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