Adony never came back after the break, which meant 4 straight absences in a row. While he's definitely not my perfect attendance student, 4 in a row is rediculous even for him, so I asked a couple of the aides to go check on him. (It's city policy in NYC that if you miss 3 in a row someone from the school goes to your house - this doesn't usually happen. You have to make friends with people that live in the neighborhood if you want to keep track of kids...)
They went to his house and who walked in this morning but a bruised, swollen, black eyed Adony. Upon his return from winter break, he was jumped by 6 gang members on the way to school. What we saw today were the wounds time hadn't healed. The gang member part is important here because I've always been suspicious of Adony himself (but never been able to prove anything, nor have I wanted to.) Luckily he was not badly hurt.
The scary thing is it happened only a block from our school, about 15 minutes before school starts, and no one stopped to help. He is also not scared, but angry. My kids responded with a spirit of retaliation, even though the students who jumped him were much larger and older than any of my students. It is a constant effort to change this mindset - this cycle of violence that seems to be all my students understand as right.
I'm so frustrated. With the setbacks. With not knowing that my kids are safe when they leave school. With the fact that I can't put them in a little bubble and protect them because right now I really really want to.