Runner and a cryer

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by minnie, Aug 13, 2016.

  1. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    I'm used to kids crying in kinder. It's a huge adjustment for them. However, what should I do if a student absolutely refuses to be in the classroom? A runner is what I call them. I can't physically keep him there and I can't chase him outside because of my other students.
     
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  3. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Welcome to my world. I had an ADHD/ODD student in my class this year. I too would like to know what an ACTUAL, practical response would be? We tried all the "Well if you make the activities engaging, giving him choice, and promote positive behavior with "stickers" and he can create a prize chart for himself, yada yada." Did it and didn't work. When he wanted out, he was out! There were times when he would bait me and inch out the door and others he just threw on his backpack and was gone! I just called the principal and said, "Yep, he's at it again," and they'd page him to the office. And mom would come down, and get mad at him, but nothing would change. He'd give her the "I'm sorry" (very rehearsed speech) and she'd take him home. That kid needed his own handler. :toofunny::rofl:
    I was new and still didn't have the management or experience to really meet his needs. But I learned A LOT in that short time.
     
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  4. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    I laughed so hard at that statement.

    On a more serious note on it, I recently read an article that called such strategies an Optimistic Myth that ultimately tried to disregard the disability issue.
     
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  5. EdEd

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    Most importantly, I think the school needs to address this on a building level. You all are absolutely right that sometimes preventive strategies break down or don't work, and the behavior will happen. Giving teachers a statement about prevention doesn't help in an intervention scenario.

    At the very least, your school should have in place a procedure for what happens when a behavioral scenario is beyond your control as a classroom teacher - if a child has a gun, if a child runs out of your class and you can't find him, etc. There may be different procedures for different things, but the point is that, at some point, you invoke administrative help.

    Another point - there are all kinds of strategies in between "sticker charts" on the basic end to full on restraint, removal from classroom environment, suspension, etc. Those strategies would largely depend on the specifics of why the child is actually running out of the classroom. That set of strategies would also certainly include preventive strategies, even it a teacher can't fully rely on those.

    A final comment in reaction to leaborb192 - most of the time strategies work or don't based on the specifics of how they're implemented. You mentioned "promoting positive behavior with stickers" - okay, so how often, for which behaviors, what could the stickers be exchanged for or translated into, what language did you use while delivering the stickers, what kind of stickers did you use, etc. Any of those variables could render your strategy useless. I've seen far too many folks discount and entire category of interventions - e.g., "reinforcement" - because one particular iteration was half-heartedly tried.
     
  6. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Half-heartedly tried? Umm... no.... I actually know my student and his situation. If ALL supports / foundations were in place, the sticker chart would have been much more effective. I'm sure. Though I will admit I have seen teachers not even bother or adhere to a student's IEP/504 plans.. .so... yeah. But I wasn't one of them. I really tried with him. He always got himself into trouble, which was his biggest problem.

    I just did what I was told to do and followed his 504 plan since it had "worked (used loosely) in the past," as he had been transferred in and out of the school from K-2, trying online/ home school and public school combos, but we updated it and HE was allowed to select his rewards. They included lunch with me, his former teachers, helping out in the office, and mostly time on his x-box and ipad. Of course thinking they'd be more meaningful and motivating. Sometimes it worked. Sometimes not. It was hard to keep the kid motivated. Mom even had him enrolled in activities he had interest in and then just stopped caring. It started very simple (baby steps) in that I rewarded him for just sitting down and staying in one spot, and then turned to academics. I would reward him with a sticker for every task he completed on his own (and I even gave him modified assignments) and acknowledged his behavior in an attempt to promote it. "B, awesome job doing... I thank you for doing ... etc," to really tie the behavior and reward together. I even tried to invite him into the lessons vs. telling him to do stuff because with ODD it's about control. If he didn't have -- or lost --- control of the situation, it drove him nuts. So I'd say things like "Hey, B, do you want to join us in x activity?" So it was inviting and promoted choice. And like I said sometimes he did. I really capitalized on those moments! He was also really smart and could just learn by being the room and hearing the material so I didn't always concern myself with some of the tasks I knew the other kids had to do. When the TA was in the room I had her work with him since he flourished with one-on-one attention, he really preferred adult interaction, and when I told the AP that she said, "My advice would be you stop that immediately" because he wouldn't always have that and needed to learn to do things alone. When I suggested we write in a TA in his 504, they all laughed at me.
    But he's also coming in with mixed messages and he had a really crappy 2nd grade teacher who had no control and just let the kids do whatever. She assigned homework, but told the kids "I don't grade it anyway," so he he formed his opinions on that. All the teachers-- and the principals-- would cringe and say, "Oh yeah, she was a mess!" Well you HIRED her and she WASN'T fired until the end of the year so a lot of the damage was done. I spent a lot of time cleaning up her mess with a lot of the kids to be honest. ERRR! :mad::down:
    I have a background in Psychology, even took all the pre-reqs for the master's in mental health counseling (which I toyed with) so I understand ALL of it -- the problem was -- so did he ! He KNEW exactly what we (all adults) were doing and played it. Sometimes he'd bite, sometimes not. It depended on how he felt. A child with ODD is wired differently and may not respond to the simple interventions that a non ODD child might. And this kid was VERY smart. He could play the game and work all the angles. I knew that and so did he. Unfortunately, a lot of the adults didn't. You can't just perform miracles like that in a classroom without SERIOUS foundational work (he needs CBT, coping strategies (here's a better way to deal with my anger and frustration); replacement techniques (instead of doing x, I can do y) and social skill interventions to start with like yesterday) mom had him in counseling and then stopped... :mad:... so I really tried to look for "triggers" and stop them from happening. He didn't really like working with other (or specific) kids, so I'd avoid it. He was younger than all the other kids and already had a reputation at the school so that didn't help. And there were just some tasks he didn't like. But I think, too, he took advantage of his situation and just went with it. He really was a cool kid when he was calm. He was interesting to talk to and very precocious. He could read the room well. He loved to study (very analytical) people's reactions to him. I tried to really talk with him on a logical level when he was calm about his decisions and how not only do they not result in him getting what he wants, but he also gets in trouble, which he doesn't like. He knows about consequences. He gets it. He KNOWS what he should do. We even bonded over Star Wars. I know that building relationships is important. But when he snapped... UGH!
    We were in a meeting one time, he was in the room and the VP was trying to get him out. She kept saying "I'm going to count to three and ..." Of course nothing happened. "OK, I'm going to count again..." nothing happened and she called his mom. The meeting was ABOUT him so we NEEDED him to leave. He didn't. So we all ended up getting up and going to another room. An 8 year old had won and they knew it and so did he. I just sat there rolling my eyes in disgust.
     
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2016
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  7. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    @Backroads thanks for reading that. I didn't intend it to be so long, but I just kept typing and typing ... as thoughts crossed my mind... HAHAH!
    :rofl::toofunny:

    TL;DR: Some kids are way beyond help that we -- the gen ed teachers-- can provide. It's just fact.
     
  8. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Most of us aren't trained to that extent and we can't always happy-classroom the kids into being healed.
     
  9. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    EXACTLY! If there's serious biological or psychological issues, we can't really help too much. We can stick to the plan and provide the most stable environment possible, but yeah, at the end of the day professional help is needed. I often found myself thinking too much with my psychological background and not my "teacher's lens," in which I can only do so much professionally.
     
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  10. otterpop

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    OP, is your school locked during the day - is there any way that this child (hypothetical or not) could get off of school grounds? Most schools I've been at are fenced in, and the only way out is through an emergency exit or the main office. If that's the case, and you know the student is at least safe on school grounds (like he's escaped to the playground, not a busy street) then I'd say call the office and have someone go find him. Either way, there's not a lot you can do, unless you line up the kids quickly and have them sit or stand in a line while you round up this little one.
     
  11. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    We had a gate. One of my little angels tried to dig a hole and climb underneath it.
    AAh, children. So wonderful. LOL
     
  12. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Leaborb, it sounds like you did everything you could! But, teachers can only do so much. Ottorpop, no our school isn't 100% fenced in which is another reason why I worry. He's not as extreme as leaborb's student. I think it has to do with just being scared.
     
  13. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    My mom once had a kid hop the fence. Twice. First into a neighboring horse pasture and past that into a country club golf course.
     
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  14. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    If we have kids who are runners, all staff are made aware. When the students are outside at recess, one of the staff will take responsibility for keeping eyes on the student or, if the flight risk is extreme, we come up with an alternate recess program. If the student bolts from the classroom, the teacher puts out an all-call on a walkie-talkie to educational assistants, office staff, and caretakers. If the child isn't located within a couple of minutes, an announcement is made to the entire school.
     
  15. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    If he refuses to be in the classroom, I"d probably have Admin find a solution. Because I'm like that.
     
  16. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Wouldn't Admin's solution just be like "It's your problem. YOU find a solution. He's your student. You teach him." ?

    I got a lot of that BS this year, because they didn't want to be bothered with him anymore. He and I actually got into an OK (it wasn't ideal, it was more like survival) place, but when other people were in the room to observe or whatever, they got all in his grill and would set him off...
    :mad::down:
     
  17. otterpop

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    Haha. Me too. My first instinct would be to find a way to lock the door from the inside, like a latch that's at grown up height, but I'm sure that's a safety issue.
     
  18. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I just think, WOW if they put all this energy into learning...
     
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  19. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    One of the other teachers, who was way more patient than I, told me she would block him and taught from the doorway many times to stop him from leaving.
     
  20. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    OOh one thing you may try is moving his desk as far away from the door as possible so it's almost like an obstacle to get out... it would be very difficult to go unnoticed. That's what I did with B for a while. I moved his desk right up front next to mine.
     
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  21. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Dear Admin: Your job is supposed to support me!
     
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  22. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Trust me, it's ONE of the reasons I resigned. They were so in their own business and worried about themselves. And we were all new teachers. It was bad. Our P was so fake... she would slap on her dopey grin and just sell it to the parents. She didn't care about the substance.
     
  23. otterpop

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    I had the same experience at my first school in the southwest. This region has a lot of teacher shortages, but what doesn't make news is that I think there are also a lot of good principal shortages too. Many principals stay in the position when they shouldn't be allowed to.
     
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  24. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Yeah our P didn't have much teaching experience before she moved on up the latter. And she NEVER taught in a gen ed classroom. She taught ELL's. Not knocking her experience, just saying, it's different.
    ;)
     
  25. EdEd

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    Sorry, I can see how that looked like it was directed at you. I had moved to more general comments rather than addressing your specific situation. Not second-guessing your involvement, but in my experience what happens more often than desired is that a teacher begins an intervention not really believing it will work, so sort of looks to confirm that it won't work, rather than trying to believe in the strategy and give it a full go.

    Sounds like quite the plan! As I mentioned before, all reinforcement plans are not created equal, and it sounds like you all came up with something that attempted to do more rather than less. You all incorporated target behaviors, successive approximations, fading, and other strategies such as you inviting him into instruction and ceding control rather than demanding it.

    And it sounds like it worked, to a degree. Most plans often find some success, but not full success. The next step is to identify what works and what doesn't, then tweak (or majorly overhaul, depending on how much success was found). In your case, I'd be interested in what worked when it worked, and what didn't when it didn't. Why were the successful times successful?

    This is generally an unfortunate byproduct of highly structured reinforcement systems - they're coercive by nature, meaning that you're trying to attempt to get kids to do something they inherently don't want to do, even if through positive means. Not saying don't do it, just that kids will naturally try to wiggle and not conform. These plans have to be really tight and finely structured because by definition you're inviting him to game the system, and again we know this and that's okay, but we also have to plan for this.

    Interestingly, many kids with ODD aren't actually wired differently. Well, we're all wired differently, but kids with ODD are not - by definition - in possession of a different neurological structure, like - say - depression or ADHD. ODD actually doesn't really exist, outside of the artificial constructs of the DSM. But, yes - I get what you mean about him being smart and playing the game. But, I would argue - you started it! You created the game and invited him to play it (or whoever came up with the plan/IEP).

    Preach! Yes, a lot of kids are in need of more than just Tier I behavioral support from teachers. I would say that you actually were engaged in "replacement techniques" by using differential reinforcement via your sticker system, and it seems like you were, at least informally, trying to teach some coping strategies. I'd also say that "in vivo" intervention can often be more effective than stuff that happens in some clinical office, so I wouldn't dismiss completely the power of your "intervention setting" or what you could do. But, having that behind the scenes mental health support could prove pretty useful.

    Definitely sounds like you got to know him pretty well, built a great relationship, and were a great resource for him.

    So before I tell you what I would have done, what would you have done had you been in charge?
     
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  26. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I'd love to see the research on this. Thanks. PM is fine.
     
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  27. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Last edited: Aug 14, 2016
  28. GemStone

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    That would legally be seclusion and probably illegal.
     
  29. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    Seriously? So if an 8 year old wants to run, we're supposed to let them?
     
  30. GemStone

    GemStone Habitué

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    We're not allowed to stop them or block them. It's ridiculous, I agree.
     
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  31. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    I have to say though that "B" was a crafty little guy. He refused to come back into the classroom, but at least stayed out in the hallway near my door... baby steps... but while I was waiting for help, he was like playing poker with the kids walking in the hall or using the bathroom. Seriously I step out to check on him and he's like dealing the kids in. I was like "WTF?" He was a wacky kid.
    :rofl::toofunny::D
    And then over in my colleagues room, she had an ED student who would be randomly set off as well. One day, her entire class was out on the playground.. it was NOT recess time... and I was like "What's going on?" You could HEAR "A" screaming at the top of her lungs as she paced around the room and was throwing things... the AP was in there with her calling her mom, I think, and "A" was like reaching at her and grabbing for the phone. She didn't stop. Boy that girl was loud. I told my friend, who taught fourth grade, and she was like "Really? I want to go see." It was a spectacle.
    We definitely had a nice interesting and diverse group of kiddos this past year. WOO!
    :confused:
     
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  32. otterpop

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    This is why schools need classroom aides!
     
  33. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    We did have one. She showed up for only 30 minutes and then stopped coming altogether in the end. Like I said, I suggested that he at least have his own aide, and they laughed at me.
    Funnily enough, back home, somebody had written an op ed piece in the local paper about "real teachers shouldn't need TA's" and that "if we can't run the classrooms by ourselves, we shouldn't be there." HAHAH! I'd like to see HIM in a classroom. You can't use the same discipline strategies that some parents use to keep their own children in line, so what are we supposed to do? Even though for some kids, I spent more time with them than their own parents... I think some people really have a distorted view about the reality of teachers. Oh, society. :roll:
     
  34. EdEd

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    Hey a2z - I'll respond here for the benefit of others as well. Feel free to PM if you'd rather converse that way.

    So, to clarify, I certainly understand that there are kids out there who experience common symptom clusters related to oppositional behavior. However, there's no evidence to suggest that all kids labeled with ODD experience a common underlying link beyond symptoms. Some kids may show elevated levels of certain neurochemicals, some kids may share environmental factors in common with other kids with ODD, etc. However, there isn't one thing that all of them have in common, other than what they do behaviorally. As such, ODD does not refer to an underlying condition that then manifests itself through symptoms. Rather, it refers to an end point - behaviors that heterogeneous kids demonstrate.

    In addition to there no being no singularly shared origin or underlying element of the disorder, there is no specific, universally-experienced symptom of the disorder: The DSM requires 4 of 8 symptoms to be present, but none of the 8 are required to be present.

    To be sure, there are certain underlying variables (e.g., neurological patterns) and symptom clusters that kids with ODD may have, but none that they are required to have. There are also no characteristics of ODD that are only possessed by kids with ODD - this is a big one. This means that every single variable that's been linked to ODD - from input/causal variables to symptoms and even later life outcomes - could be explained or caused by something other than ODD.

    This does not mean that the behaviors associated with ODD aren't real or that they aren't significant. It also doesn't mean that the label of ODD doesn't communicate specific things to treatment providers, families, etc. It also doesn't mean that knowing the diagnosis of ODD won't, in some way, help with initial treatment planning. However, and this is the big one: It DOES mean that there is not one particular intervention that is both necessary & sufficient to help kids with ODD.

    Contrast this with ADHD - there may be some disagreement amongst experts here, but ADHD is generally thought to be related to deficient prefrontal cortex functioning. The exact stuff happening in the brain isn't known, but it's at least thought that all kids with ADHD (truly diagnosed) possess certain neurological characteristics in common. Same with depression. Same with a broken leg. Same with cancer. There's diversity in all of those things, but there's at least one thing in each of those "illnesses" that is shared amongst all people diagnosed with the disease.

    Bringing this back to my original comment, kids with ODD aren't, be definition, universally wired differently from kids without ODD. There is no underlying neurological, neurochemical, or even environmental characteristic that all kids with ODD have, so we can't start to talk about ODD as an automatic predictor of 1) behavior or 2) which interventions will be successful.

    For more reading, check out this link - it's a few years old, but has a pretty thorough discussion of all of this stuff - the neurochemistry, etc. It actually doesn't draw the conclusion I'm making here, but if you read through each of the different discussions of the various characteristics related to ODD, you won't find any one that is universally present.
     
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2016
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  35. EdEd

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    So each locale may define this somewhat differently, but seclusion & restraint - from my experience - refer more to keeping someone in a limited area, rather than prohibiting them from entering another area. It also probably depends on how you attempt to prohibit access - if you simply stand guard and use your arms "open palm," that may be considered something different from actually attempting to a hold a child down and confine him/her to a specific location. Of course, if a child really wants to get past you and you aren't willing to actually use a hands on approach, s/he'll probably get past you anyway, but simply attempting to use your body to keep a child from entering the outside would likely not alone qualify as either seclusion or restraint.
     
  36. EdEd

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    Wow, what a ridiculous concept. I can't believe a newspaper would actually print that.
     
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  37. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thanks, EdEd. I just didn't want to sidetrack this discussion.
     
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  38. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    A lot of op ed is ridiculous, but entertaining. Everyone has a voice and God bless America, because we can all express it.
    ;)
     
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  39. GemStone

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    We can't block the doors or give chase (as in running because they'll think of it as a game) and we certainly can't touch the kids, not even to hold their hands as a preventative measure. We can only stop them from exiting an outside door and that's only by blocking the door itself. If they get outside we can't touch them or give chase.
     
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  40. Leaborb192

    Leaborb192 Enthusiast

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    What does that mean? How do you block the door without stopping a kid from exiting and therefore blocking the kid? Do you put something in front of the door or lock it? Then that comes with a mess of issues too, no?
     
  41. TeacherNY

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    Aug 15, 2016

    What does this "runner's" parents say? Do they try to help at all? My first thought would be to tell them to home school the kid if school is so horrible that he doesn't want to be here (hahahah that probably won't work!!) so I would ask admin what they want you to do. If this kid has multiple issues maybe you need an extra adult in the classroom. It won't be safe for you to run after the kid and leave the rest of the students unattended. That's just not fair to the other kids who ARE behaving. I personally am lucky because I have an aide who can stand by the door on occasion because I'm lucky enough to have a runner too, although I'm in special ed so these things happen quite frequently.
     

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