True Lies

I’ve always been grateful for a man in a suit walking around School. When Zak is at his most petulant, I always tell him the man is a Governor, here to check up on the naughty kids. We were visited by people in other kinds of uniforms today, those of the Police, Fire Brigade and Ambulance Crew.

The day started off with a play about knife crime. It seemed a little heavy-handed, considering the kids were only 11 years old. Meanwhile Zak’s behaviour began to turn. One of the police women walked over to me, “is he Special Needs?” she asked. Strictly speaking he’s not, but I smiled innocently and said ‘yes’. Hey, it got me an extra pair of hands and I don’t think little white lies are a criminal offence.

Next up was ‘Stranger Danger’. In a clever little scenario they tricked groups of children into walking off with a ‘stranger’ (a plain-clothes police officer). I watched, hidden from view, as Zak and another child took the bait. For all the fact I knew it was staged, it was still unsettling. The police officer was then ‘arrested’ and revealed her true identity to the children.

The children’s observation skills were then tested in a crime recreation scene. They were remarkably accurate, even noting the criminals “really hairy toes”. A suddenly self-conscious assailant looked as if he’d regretted wearing open toed sandals. Next up were the Ambulance Crew. We knew one of the children receiving CPR was not dead, when he loudly farted. They should have stuck with a dummy.

There was a fire alarm test in the afternoon and I expected the Year 6 to ‘stop drop and roll’, as taught. Zak just ‘slapped, kicked and punched’ his way into an afternoon’s internal exclusion. Chased by three children, Zak ran into the Library, in what quickly became an almost farcical scene. I was quickly there, holding back an apoplectic Zak, with my foot on the Library door. While Zak was trying to escape my clutches, the ‘three little shits’ were on the other side, jump kicking the door. “Let me out!” screamed Zak; “Let us in!” yelled the kids.

With matters calmed, we moved to the subject of parallel universes. It took a while, but eventually Zak got his head around the fact that somewhere out there, in another galaxy, is another ‘him’. “He’s probably on an internal exclusion too” I noted. At times like this, I felt sorry for my parallel self.

At the end of the day, Zak and I said goodbye to one of the boys leaving us. “Can we think about him for a little bit?” Zak asked. I was happy to do so. He was a lad that seemed to speak all languages and no languages. While I never understood a word he said, Zak and I both agreed we’ll miss him. As we reached the playground, Zak suddenly stopped in his tracks. “Wait!” he said, wide-eyed in revelation “so that wasn’t really a stranger?”


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