Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Lost Souls and Accountability

Here's the thing about accountability-
It makes people accountable
And maybe that's not always a good thing..

If someone would give parent a score for parenting  Angelica's and Tom's parents would not be anywhere near the top of the list.

Angelica came to us  six years ago in ninth grade.  She and her two friends steadfastly refused to wear the school uniform to the great consternation of the assistant principal- earning them the nick name "Three the Hard Way."   One straightened out, one dropped out and Angelica kept drifting along, attending too many days to be discharged and not enough to make progress towards graduation. This year Angelica, with no help from the folks at home, decided she would take control and works things out herself.  She decided to transfer to a transfer school (hey- I don't make the names up).  I guess you can say a transfer school is a life boat for screw ups who want to turn it around and graduate. You can earn more credits and exit faster because - you earn credits faster.  (If it sounds like I don't get it- that's because I don't really). So Angelica transferred and then she got kicked out- because someone counted heads and figured out they didn't actually have a space for her.  So they made her a deal.  She should come back to our school, attend regularly and then in March she could transfer back to the transfer school since they would have room then.
Now that's the sticking point- Angelica doesn't attend regularly. She comes in from time to time and asks me to call Maury (another detail about transfer schools -they're on a first name basis) at the transfer school to see what's up.

So a few weeks ago I called and Maury said Angelica had to attend regularly if she was to be accepted. So she's come all the days we were open in February and today she made me call Maury again. I sold her- I told Maury she really needed to move on, she really needed the transfer school, she really is a sweet young woman.

And Maury's response.
Sweet was one thing but if she wasn't going to attend regularly, she wouldn't graduate and therefore ruin their graduation statistics. He needed proof she would attend regularly.

And then Tom came by.
Tom appeared last year in May.  He had left a school in Maryland in December, been assigned a school that didn't want him- oops- I mean didn't have appropriate services in February and actually showed up on our register in May.  He doesn't read very well, math is a mystery but somehow he passed history after attending for 17 school days.  (Again- I don't pretend to understand these things).

But he came to summer school. Where we worked on telling time on a analog clock, he showed me a picture of his hot Russian girlfriend, and one day confided that he was actually not really living anywhere.  I told the principal and she said something to the effect that we didn't have a social worker or guidance counselor in the summer program and we would deal with it in the fall.

He came in the fall for a few days and then moved to another relative's house in Brooklyn and disappeared again.

Then yesterday the principal called me in her office.  She had a transfer paper on her desk for Tom. "We can't take him back," she said.  He's nineteen, he has very few credits, we'll never be able to graduate him.

Yeah, we probably wouldn't be able to graduate him.  But maybe I could get him into the vocational training program like Louis.

Maybe there would be a place that actually wanted him.

But then there is our graduation statistic to worry about.

It gives us all something to worry about.

1 comment:

  1. That is so sad... it must be hard to be a young adult, realizing that since you didn't have anyone to make sure you went to school and did other positive things when you were a kid, now you're grown up and basically on your own. It sounds like they really want to straighten out their lives but don't really know how. :(