Difficult Student

Discussion in 'Special Education' started by Zelda~*, Sep 4, 2010.

  1. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 4, 2010

    I teach in a very rural area. Lots of farms, small towns, etc. I have a student that just transfered from the nearest city and he's---very urban.

    By "urban" I mean he's a little First Grade boy who wants to be a gangster. This is really a new situation for me and my classroom. He's very into rap music, etc.

    Well. On Friday he threatened to "put a cap" in another boy. He also told me he brought a hand gun to school. (He didn't have one in his bag, but we're keeping an extra close eye on him.) We've spoke with his family, but I'm getting the feeling that's a losing battle.

    Any suggestions for dealing with this? :help: I'm a bit at a loss. We've discussed appropriate ways of expressing anger and he does know to get a teacher, use appropriate words etc.....but...:help:
     
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  3. Cerek

    Cerek Aficionado

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    Sep 4, 2010

    That is a very difficult situation, Zelda. I imagine he will quickly find most of his classmates are not "impressed" by his actions and attitude, which will only make him feel more isolated and "left out" at this new "country" school. Hopefully, though, he will realize the kids ARE friendly and that he just needs to change his behavior.

    We have a transfer student in our middle school behaving similarly. He isn't trying to act like a gangster, but he has been using a LOT of profanity in the school, on the bus and even in the classroom. He blurted out "G.D" in the classroom last week and, when the teacher took him outside to explain that language wasn't appropriate, he said "Oh, I get it. You're just offended because you're a Christian".

    The teacher explained her religious beliefs had nothing to do with the use of profanity being unacceptable in the school or classroom for ANY reason. It sounds as if this type of language is very common in his home (from the parents), but even so, MOST kids still know those words aren't considered appropriate in school.

    It sounds like your student may need to have regular sessions with the school counselor (if one is available) to help him adjust to the new school setting and also to help him learn the rules of acceptable behavior.
     
  4. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 4, 2010

    Thanks. And you're right. The other kids are not impressed at all. One boy keeps telling him "You must never use the Lord's name in vain."

    As the ED unit we're the "catch-all" classroom. But I'm starting to worry he might actually need to go to a more intensive program than we offer with mental health staff on site.

    He apologizes for his behavior in a totally calm, collect, manner, but there's--not really any remorse there.

    We talked about how we had called home and he was totally unfazed, saying "They weren't angry."

    I will talk with our counselor and see if she can't set up some one on one sessions with him.
     
  5. supermissf

    supermissf Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Have you had to use restraint techniques or seclusion with him? If he is using foul, inappropriate language and not showing remorse, etc... then that is not nearly enough to warrant a special facility for placement. Is he a danger to himself or others? If not, then I can't imagine he'd be going anywhere. Just because he is "urban" does not mean he gets the boot from a "country" school.
     
  6. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Yes, he has tried to destroy the classroom. Day three we had to do a two person carry to place him on the bus. He has been telling us he wants to kill (and how) his classmates, and that he wants to kill himself, that he's going to bring weapons, etc.

    It is not a matter of not wanting to deal with him, it is a matter of seeing that he gets the pyschological help that he needs. Part of my job is seeing which kids we are able to rehab and place in general education classrooms and which need more help than we can offer.

    I work for an ESC not a school district, so my students come from several school districts. We aim to get them all back to those districts eventually.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2010
  7. supermissf

    supermissf Rookie

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Has he physically hurt staff or peers?
     
  8. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Not at this school, yet. Old schools? Yes.

    Don't misunderstand. I'm not trying to kick this boy out of my class. I am trying to find interventions I can use in my classroom to help him. I don't want to lose him. I, personally, have never lost a student in that manner. I don't really want to start now. To me it sends a bad message all the way around. But I know it is a possiblity, and I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.

    I am simply stating that A.) this boy is very different from the other students I have taught over the past 3 years. B.) I am looking for suggestions.

    This is starting to affect his peer relationships. They don't want to play with the boy who is threatening to shoot them and calling them names. I want to help him.
     
  9. ZoomZoomZOOM

    ZoomZoomZOOM Devotee

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    Sep 5, 2010

    If he's made verbal death threats and has mentioned bringing guns to school, I'm surprised your admin hasn't taken that a lot more seriously - IEP or not. I work in an urban school and I know what it's like to have a mix of street-smart kids and non-street-smart kids in the special ed self contained room. It's really difficult as a teacher to come up with appropriate discipline because that child feels totally justified to curse and mention violence in school because that's all he knows. What I've done in the past is to let my kids know that they might talk a certain way with their friends or at home to their family and that's perfectly fine - but here at school we need to use appropriate language because later when we're done with school, employers will judge you based on how you speak. Of course I teach middle school and you're talking 1st grade so you might have to change tack. Just be very firm and let him know each time that language like that is not permitted in your classroom and then move on and don't draw extra attention to it.

    Regardless, he's probably going to laugh in your face when you correct him. I'd be a lot more concerned with those gun threats than anything else though. If you teach in a rural elementary school, you probably don't have security, huh? Because if a kid was making threats like that at our school, he'd have to be escorted everywhere by security and they would do daily searches of his backpack, locker, etc.
     
  10. teachersk

    teachersk Connoisseur

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Oh Zelda, What a tough situation. I can imagine the other kids are looking at this kid like.. (????)

    The parents are not helpful at all? What was their response when they were told about the gun threat/etc.?

    Is he motivated by anything? Can you have some sort of "I didn't curse during the last 10 minutes" token board? (Been there done that!)

    What about food? Does he seem hungry? Would he work to earn food? I've never really worked in an urban school, I've always been in rural (Texas) or suburban (NJ) schools. So, I don't have too many suggestions on that side of things, but just more ideas on the behavioral side of things as I would do with any of my students who would engage in similar behaviors.

    Is he getting attention for his negative behaviors? (Do the other kids look at him so funny that it seems like he enjoys it?) Do teachers make remarks, does he get whisked away when he threatens, etc.? Is it possible that he enjoys the negative attention, more than the positive attention?

    My recommendation would be to ignore his cursing, etc. to the best of your ability (You're a behavior teacher so you probably know all of this) - and try to keep the response to his other behaviors to a minimum (as long as you're keeping him, your other kids, and yourself safe!) I would guess that he gets a kick out of the response. I'd have some sort of positive behavior reinforcement system in place (VERY immediate - token board, etc. that he gets reinforced fairly frequently) for NOT engaging in those behaviors. Even a DRO might work for him. I like how you didn't curse or threaten your friends for the last minute - you get a token! Two more and you can have free time.

    Also, I might give him a chance to engage in all of the threatening and cursing he wants, in a private place (??) Tell him that he's allowed to say those things when he's alone, but not when he's with his teachers or friends. (Not sure if that's feasible?? but that's what we do with kids with autism who engage in certain behaviors (stimming, vocal stereotypy, flapping, etc. - we give them a chance to do it on their own time, so that it doesn't interfere with schoolwork/instruction, etc.)

    ??? Not sure. I am not much help... but I feel your pain. Good luck with this!
     
  11. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Thanks ladies. I appreciate the suggestions! :)

    Yeah, my biggest concern is the death threats, towards himself and the other students. The cursing bothers the other students more than me, heh.

    No, unfortunately, we don't have security. I've warned the bus driver and my paras and we're going to do our own searches. Sadly, we only have a principal roughly half-time so that adds to the situation.

    As far as family goes---he's been taken from one place and put with other relatives. They've said that he doesn't understand the concept--and that I do agree with. I really don't think he grasps the finality of death. But--he can't be telling everyone he's going to kill them either.

    He's a smart boy and has a very sweet, compassionate side. He shares well, plays on the playground fairly well. He LOVES the computer, and I might start using it as his motivator. (He likes to play cards on it.)

    Again, thanks for the all the idea! I really appreciate them! :)
     
  12. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Also--he mutters these threats. You really have to be listening to hear them. When he's removed he apologizes fairly quickly and asks if he can go back to class and do his work.

    I'm hopeful we can retrain him to use "I messages" instead or at the very least "Please leave me alone, I'm mad."
     
  13. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2010

    I think Zoom had a good point about explaining that there might be different sets of rules for home and school.

    Are you familiar with the 5-point scale? I use it all the time in my autism classroom, but I've also used it successfully with kids with EBD to teach anger management/social skills.
     
  14. Proud2BATeacher

    Proud2BATeacher Phenom

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    Sep 5, 2010

    Could you share a website that will provide info about the 5-point scale?
     
  15. bethechange

    bethechange Comrade

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    Sep 5, 2010

  16. teacher12345

    teacher12345 Cohort

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    Sep 5, 2010

    http://jillkuzma.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/5-point-scale-group-check-in.pdf

    You may want to download the boardmaker 30 day free trial from mayer johnson's website to print this, it a five point scale created about words, called words do matter.

    http://www.boardmakershare.com/59863/Words-Do-Matter

    Here is a voice scale: http://www.boardmakershare.com/410936/Voice-Volume-Scale-5-Levels-1-5

    Here is a scale and then cards so that the students can rate different situations: http://www.boardmakershare.com/230192/Incredible-5-Point-Scale
    http://www.boardmakershare.com/230201/Incredible-5-Point-Scale-Cards

    Here is one that is about silliness:
    http://www.boardmakershare.com/213157/5-point-silliness-scale
    If you go to this site and scroll down to where it says behavior supports, there is a file called stress scale. http://www.practicalautismresources.com/printables

    http://www.txautism.net/docs/Guide/Interventions/Incredible5.pdf this pdf is very informatve!
     
  17. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 6, 2010

    Oh yeah, the 5 point scale is a great idea! :) I had started using if last year for another student, but he quickly "grew out" of needing it. I hadn't even thought of it for this situation. Thank you!

    I appreciate all the suggestions.
     
  18. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Devotee

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    Sep 7, 2010

    Update: We had a fantastic morning! He got lots of tickets for good behavior, lots of verbal praise, etc. He did wonderful! :)

    Then--crashed in the PM. During lunch (my aides sit with the kids while I catch lunch with the gen ed teachers--it keeps us all in the loop) he again mentioned bringing a gun to school. He also pretended to shoot my one aide.

    He was good for the lesson right after lunch.

    But right after recess we had to have him removed from the room (he started throwing things), phone call home etc. *sigh*

    Our plan of attack for now is to praise his good behavior up one side and down the other.

    We're going to give him the option of asking for a break--since he immedately rejoins us and works once he's left the room even if he doesn't speak with the principal/home/etc. We'll let him hit/kick/punch the mats and yell in the gym if he wants to.

    We shall overcome! :)
     
  19. angelfaces

    angelfaces Rookie

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    Sep 12, 2010

    As someone else mentioned I think a DRO would work for him. We use it in my classroom with a student that argues and disrespects me everytime I open my mouth. He is on a fixed interval schedule of 15 minutes and if he does not engage in any disrespectful behavior during the 15 minutes he earns the computer for 5 minutes and then the timer is started over again. We isolated the computer ONLY for his DRO and he does not have access to it unless he earns it. If he does use inappropriate language we have him apologize and let him know that we are resetting his timer and the new 15 minute period will start when he " sits in his seat, picks up his pencil, ect.), just one simple direction. Have you done a preference assessment on this student. I would start there first and see what it is that is reinforcing to him and isolate it for using appropriate language. We have our student sign the contract at the beginning of starting it to be sure he understood exactly what inappropriate language or disrespectful language was.
     

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