Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - Children Living in an Environmental Disaster

Magazine article Times Educational Supplement

What Keeps Me Awake at Night - Children Living in an Environmental Disaster

Article excerpt

You might think that a 12-year-old telling you he is going to "drop- kick you in the fucking head" is a behaviour issue. It's not. If a 12- year-old child wants to drop-kick his teacher in the head, that's beyond playing up, there's something more going on.

We'll call him James. James is 12 years old. He is a brooding, angry little man. What he lacks in stature, he makes up for in aggression. Before he threatened to drop-kick me in the head, he'd offered to smash my face in. For several of his classmates, he hadn't bothered asking, he'd just done it.

We occasionally get on. If you ask him about football, you get a glimpse behind the curtain and realise he isn't that bad a kid, really. His grades are shocking, he is a bully and he is disruptive, but he's not rotten to the core like you find with some (admit it, they exist).

We tried sanctions but it was a waste of time. He didn't turn up and his mum doesn't answer the phone or respond to letters. We could exclude him - we have come close - but I spoke up for him and said I would do my best to turn him around.

Why? Because I know his home life is shocking. …

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