It’s springtime and that brings forth the sounds we have waited for all winter, the robins sing, the children playing ball, and the unmistakable crack of a bat. The ball soars skyward while mom and dad sit proudly in the stands waiting for the call safe or out? It’s a pleasant picture in a minds eye, it’s a normal day in spring but for some it is only a dream of what might have been.
The voice is deep when the sound hits with the booming thud of a sledge hammer, you’re out! Mom and Dad are not in the stands in fact only one is here and you have failed. You are not on a field you never are, you are in a room. Your eyes look down, they always do, but that has been where life is at for you. This is not the first time you have failed, but don’t all kids fail? You’re out, the words echo in your mind, to some it would feel so final but to you it’s almost normal. You’ve felt that way before; it was at home, at the corner store, and often at school.
This voice of rejection was one you heard before in many ways from many people. It was not the voice of an umpire but it was a voice of authority. This time it was the voice of the school expulsion committee, you’re out of school. Well, not all the way out just ostracized, removed from the others. But life is like that, it’s the way you felt when you first moved to Coventry in the eighth grade, excluded.
You remember your first summer here and you had no friends. You remember looking “Coventry” up in the dictionary it was on page 192 and it read, “a state of ostracism or exclusion”. Here in the expulsion hearing it has all come true, you moved to Coventry it’s your home it’s where you’re supposed to belong but you never felt that way. You never wanted to be here in this room, you never wanted to be shunned.
Coventry was supposed to be a new start, a place to have friends but it never turned out that way, life never does. Tomorrow school means having a tutor, what’s the use? You never catch a break, things never go right but that is life for you, that is your world and you have only one question; why does it have to be this way, why?
Is expulsion a solution or just a symptom of a greater disease? Coventry has expulsions, like every school system. The reasons vary; drugs, violence and weapons but are those really the reasons or just the reflections of behavior, poor judgment and confusion of a teenage mind? How we address the root cause for expulsions and consequences will say a lot about us, all of us. Will we just ostracized the offender like the lepers of the bible or will we look for a more holistic approach?
The responsibility we have as a community is nothing more and nothing less than the responsibility of the offender in the expulsion hearing. We will pay a price in dollars for their new special educational services and perhaps a greater price at some time in the future for ignoring the root cause of the problem. The offender will pay a price today and maybe for a lifetime, struggling to understand, ethics, responsibility, consequences and wondering why life has to be this way.
The real question is what is our solution to problems that currently boil over to an expulsion hearing? There is an answer if we look within the soul of humanity and the goodness of every individual.
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