One of my lovable ruffians was caught showing his friends an illegal substance in the media center this week. He hasn't been to class since, though I'm told he's spent considerable time in the assistant principal's office with his guardian in attendance. I am so sad for him it hurts. He has a lot going for him as a person and I'd hate to think that this one mistake will define him for the adults in his life forever.
I realize that teenagers do stupid things. I did plenty of stupid things myself. Heck, I would not want my teen self in any of my classes because I would drive myself insane. I get it. But I can also see the train wreck coming. I got lucky. Some of my students won't be so lucky.
I do think I did everything I could to build a relationship with this student. He's not a mean kid and he responded to adults who showed an interest. His thoughts and attention are clearly on other parts of his life right now, rather than on school. Here's hoping he can find a new, more positive, focus.