Thursday, 26 March 2009

Scream and shout

I'm not an angry person, although like most people I do get my pugnacious moments. But this morning I bore witness to one of the most naked and raw displays of angst and near demonic possession I have ever seen. And it emanated from a nine year old kid.

I had arrived at a primary school for special needs children in Hayes on the very fringes of west London to give a talk, having been invited up by a neighbour who was also the Head Teacher. He warned me that some of the kids were liable to 'kick off' at any point and that I was just to ignore it. Pre-warned, I sat with kids around a table to enjoy tea, toast and conversation with them. They seemed fine, though a couple did look visibly troubled. One kid refused to sit around the table with us, choosing instead to sit in the corner of the room facing the wall.

We cleared the table after, in preparation for my talk in the assembly room. I was helping a kid put the plastic table cloth away in an adjoining storeroom when I noticed that another child had climbed a bookcase by the wall (around six feet up) and was proceeding to climb through a small window. I was surprised, meanwhile the kid I was with doubted if his mate could get through the window with a nonchalance which made me do a double take. Swiftly, two teachers arrived to try and coax the kid down. At this point, the boy literally blew up; he screamed, cried and swore like I've never heard a nine year old swear all the while viciously lashing lashing out with his feet as he held onto an overhead pipe. 

My jaw was hitting the floor at this point. I tried to help but these guys have dealt with  this type of situation many times before. We were all ordered to clear the room whilst one teacher remained with the  deranged boy. He continued to scream and swear like someone was trying to murder him for a full ten minutes until the teacher managed to assuage his ire. Meanwhile, the other kids in the next room behaved like nothing out of the ordinary was happening.

I eventually delivered my slideshow showing the amassed kids common birds that they were likely to see around their school and ended by playing them one of my The One Show pieces. They thoroughly enjoyed it.

I left the school wondering how the teachers were able to deal with that level of abuse and violence and how such a young kid could have so much hatred and bitterness within him. 

What kind of start in life has he had?

1 comment:

waxwing said...

I taught in a school like that for 3 years. After that, a person is ready for anything.

Some of the stories behind those kids were heartbreaking. I'm not sure what is worse -- knowing the stories or seeing the results without knowing the stories.