There was a fight at the end of the day. And it was a brawl. Blood was spelled. One kid cut his eyebrow and the other kid’s lip was split open.
And, yes, one of the students was mine. It wasn’t Tyrese surprisingly. It was actually one of my quieter kids, Michael. I like Michael, which made this fight even more traumatizing for me.
Basically, at the end of the day there’s always a back up at the front doors. All of the students walk out at the same time so it takes a while to file everyone out out of the two sets of double doors.
I usually walk behind my kids to keep an eye on them, but for some reason today I was in the middle. It’s usually loud in the hallway at the end of the day just because we’re all excited to leave, so when I heard shouting behind me I didn’t turn around right away.
I didn’t realize something was wrong until a child knocked into me. And it took everything I had to not clear out the entire group of students in front of me.
I turned around and, sure enough, two kids are rolling on the floor while a circle of cheering students formed around them.
There are a few sounds that could even be heard over the commotion, but let me tell you, the sound of Michael’s face hitting the tile floor is a sound that will haunt me.
I did the naturally thing, I screamed my head off at them to stop and tried to get between them. Fortunately there were two other teachers close-by and I grabbed Michael by his armpits and thankfully held my head back while he thrashed. It was a good day to wear my hair up. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a child that angry and violent. It was like he was possessed by the devil.
I yelled at Michael to “CALM DOWN! CALM DOWN! RELAX!” and after a couple of seconds my arms were shaking from trying to pull him away through a mass of students.
I dragged him into the nearest classroom with me and closed the door behind me and blocked it.
“MICHAEL! STOP IT!” I yelled.
He was breathing like he just ran a mile. His shoulders and chest were heaving up and down and his fists were clenched so tight his knuckles were white. There was a vicious frown on his face and his eyes were narrowed down at me.
“What was that?!” I demanded.
He took a really deep breathe and said, “His cousin shot my uncle.”
It took me a minute to comprehend what Michael had just told me. I knew I was working in a tough neighborhood, but I had no idea that their family members were shooting each other.
Or maybe I did have an idea and chose not to think about it.
Then Michael’s eyes starting to tear up and my maternal instinct took over. I told him that I was sorry and then I gave him a hug. He hugged me back. Hard. That made me tear up, too.
I looked at his face and saw that he his lip was cut open. I walked him to the nurse’s office and was told to have him sit in Connie’s office because the other boy was in the nurse’s office.
Then I was immediately given a form to fill out by Connie. She told me just to write down what happened, and she handed Michael some gauze for his lip.
I saw the other teacher that broke up the fight on my way back to my classroom. I had never seen her before. She smiled at me and said, “Welcome to Beecher” and then gave me wink.