Every morning I make an honest attempt to greet my students and have some sort of "one on one" time with my homeroom group. This morning I am overjoyed that Miss X has decided to attend classes for the first time this week.
Me: "Glad to see you Miss X! We've missed you! Let me get your work together and we'll see if we can get you caught up. We are finishing the novel today; the exam is tomorrow. Do you have your novel?"
Miss X: "Novel? Uh, no, uh...no it's somewhere."
Me: "Well, not to worry. I am sure it will float to the surface. You seem very tired. What time did you go to bed last night?"
Miss X: "Oh, I think it was around 4:00."
Me: "4:00? Where you watching television?"
Miss X, with a very "knowing" glance: "Uh, no...I was doing something else."
Me, thinking this 13 year old is not trying to say what I think she is: "Does your mom know you were up that late?"
Miss X: "No, I wasn't home. I'm never home."
Me: "So, sleepovers on a school night. Wow, I guess I must be a strict mom."
Miss X: "My mom doesn't care what I do."
CPS tells us this household is fine. One bedroom which the brother in re-hab gets; Miss X and her mother share the couch. Apparently this is why she chooses to sleep elsewhere. The 16 year old sometime boyfriend of the two (apparently the only thing they have in common), is also in residence during the week. There is no electricity in their half of the duplex. Because the grandparents live in the other half, and Miss X can go there if she chooses, CPS says this is acceptable.
Last week it was Miss Y. Her 30 something mother has a low paying job. Her 50 something significant other is unemployed. Miss Y says that now that he is "off alcohol" he is meaner than before. In order to spare her sister the physical discipline he doles out, she feels the need to interfere and serve as a distraction. I am told that because he does not leave marks or bruises, there is nothing to be done. Miss Y spends her weekends with her friends. It's easier that way.
NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND? These two children are only a whisper of the thousands of children in this nation who are not even lined up for the trip! Schools cannot fix what the home has broken.