Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Marcus in Queens

Marcus (whose name was changed to protect his identity) was absent for two days. I called his mom to check in, as is my custom when a student is out for more than one day, and she told me that the incident we had discussed during the previous week had landed Marcus a suspension hearing, a possible superintendent's suspension, and up to three months in an alternative learning center. It had been reported that Marcus jumped a student outside of school during the week prior, however, there was very little evidence to back up this claim and although in the reports there was more than one person involved, Marcus was the only one accused and prosecuted. He was given a full two-month suspension and his time was extended for an incident that took place in the alternative learning center. When he came back to take the state English Language Arts and math exam he told me he was guessing on every question because he hadn’t learned anything since he left our school. His extreme lack of confidence, as an effect of his suspension, resulted in an inability to access his short and long term memory and complete his work to the best of his ability.

- Sarah Arvey, 7th grade teacher in math and science special education in a Queens public school

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