“He doesn’t do this at home.” The mother sat, frustrated, angry, at the end of her rope. Facing her was the teacher, frazzled, frustrated, also unsure of what to do with the student, who now sat calmly when only minutes before was overturning furniture and spitting at her.

Completing their circle is the assistant principal. He asks questions about meds, about the home. Then he questions the student.
“Do you like school?”
“Then why do you act like this?”
“I want to go home.”

The assistant principal makes eye contact with the teacher. She waves a hand at the student. He is telling the truth, not just saying what he wants to do now. This is why he does it.

“I’m going to leave it up to you, Mom. Do you want to take him home or have him finish his day in ‘in-school’ doing work?”

“Today I want to take him home. We’ll talk.”

The teacher’s blood pressure rises. This is giving him what he wants, and saving the punishment for another day. Great, stretch it out. The meeting adjourns. The teacher is magenta.

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