There are a handful of things school related that are currently bugging the ever-living hell out of me, but I'm not going to post about them. I'm sure you all have your own fresh hell to gnaw on. I'll save it for another day. Posting about them doesn't promise to be cathartic, but rather to have me re-live them all over again. So instead, I have somehthing nice to share.
There is a senior boy at my school who has mild autism. I'm going to call him Ron. He is quite funcional- I had him in class for 2 levels of Spanish and his written work was impeccable. Socially, he is a bit off- it's like having a brilliant 8 year old in class, but intellectually, his mind is like a steel trap. One of his goals has been to refrain from blurting out answers and waiting to be called on. Having him in class was really delightful, as he and I have somewhat of a rapport and the other kids get used to him and are quite nice to him.
I mentioned earlier that we have a Sadie-Hawkins type dance every winter in which Senior boys are nominated for the honor of being crowned King. Well, this year, Ron was the recipient of this honor. It was really a genuine gesture on the part of most of the student body- there weren't any snickers or sarcastic remarks. He wore that crown all week- and then sometimes just for the heck of it.
Fast forward to April. The kids are in Prom-mode. Ron puts a note up on the bulletin board in the cafeteria looking for a ride to the dance. A Senior girl in one of his classes asks him about it. "Ron, I saw your note. Did you end up getting a ride to Prom?" No, not yet, was his answer. "Well," she said, "I talked it over with my parents, and they'd be happy to drive you to the Prom. And a bunch of us are going out to dinner before the dance and we'd like you to join us- your dinner will be all taken care of." These kids all chipped in to pay for his meal, as well as his Prom ticket, and arranged for his ride home. They didn't do it for any recognition, nor for any fun to be had at his expense. They just did it because he's their classmate, and they think he's cool and they know that he's not like them in many ways, and they wanted him to have a good time at his Senior Prom.
So the next time you see teenagers being loud and obnoxious or hear about some heinous crime commited by teens, I want you to remember this story.