I got the scare of my life recently when one of my students brought a knife to school!
The family called and said that their son was having suicidal ideation and they were bringing him to the school. I was notified when they were on their way and in my mind, I thought, “what am I going to do? I don’t have this type of training! Why are they coming here, they should be heading to the hospital!”
Yet, before I knew they were outside and I was told that I was to go out into the parking lot to try to get him inside so that we could have him settled when the ambulance and police came. So, I left my group of students in search of the lost sheep in the parking lot, but the principal had requested that the psychologist and school counselor accompany me. Seeing the three soldiers walking his way, the student panicked and the parent said, “he will only speak to Ms. Penny.” So, I walked over to the back seat and I was expecting him to be polite, instead he pushed me out of the way – rushing away I noticed that he had a butcher knife in his back pocket.
“He has a knife!” I yelled as the student picked up the pace and ran off. Then I told the parent to run after his son and try to take the knife from him… In the end, the student was sent to the hospital and he was then referred to the psychological unit where we got the help he needed. The ignorant parents (probably undocumented) sought help by seeking the school afraid to call for the ambulance or the police. So, I was happy that they came to us and that we were able to help them get them through this crisis, but I was also aware of how close I came to getting stabbed had this gone the wrong way.
I was told to go outside and try to bring the student on to school grounds, which is something that I shouldn’t have done. That’s the job for someone with skills that I do not have. The incident occurred during the first week of the new psychologist, but I was so unimpressed by her lack of action. I was directing the show because I was asked to do so, but now I know better. I learned that day that I have to say no- that as a teacher there are limitations to what I can do and when a student is resisting to come inside, I cannot go out and try to be the hero.