I’ve written hundreds of behavior referrals for students, mostly when I’ve had to kick them out of my classroom. For my first two years, when I taught at a middle school, students who were sent out of class went to our in-school suspension room, strangely known as the Opportunity Room, or OP room. Students were almost always held there for the remainder of the period, then sent on to their next class, and expected to return to my class the next day—with no real consequences. Here are the referrals I wrote for one student who we’ll call AS:
9/10/09 AS absolutely refused to sit in his assigned seat today, and was also talking and not working. At the end of class he finally moved to his seat, but when he did so he told me that he would no longer do any work for me in this class. I told him that I would be calling home, and I spoke to his grandmother.
9/14/09 AS was disruptive and disrespectful in class today. The class was taking a quiz, and needed to be silent, and AS persisted in talking, walking around, touching other scholars, and cursing – as he does very often in my class. I called home and spoke with his grandmother, and she told me that she would have his mother call me here at the school.
10/6/09 My class had been emphatically told to stay seated during independent work time today, and then given multiple warnings. AS nonetheless kept getting out of his seat to talk and to goof around for the extent of our work time. Eventually I gave him a lunch detention. He angrily said something under his breath including “… fag, dude …,” and he walked out the door. He reentered the room about thirty seconds later.
10/8/09 AS kept talking during my lesson, harassed X, and talked very disrespectfully to me whenever I addressed his misbehavior, or instructed him to get on task. Finally I gave him a last warning before getting a Saturday School, and AS replied disrespectfully that he didn’t care. I sent him to the Opportunity Room and told him that he would have a Saturday School (in following Ms. Y’s instructions, in light of AS’s persistent misbehavior).
10/12/09 AS was reading a magazine during my lesson today, and refused to put it away, and refused to take notes. He received a verbal warning, then was moved to a table in the back of the room, and then was given a detention. Then during a pause in my lesson, AS said loudly, “This dude is gay, man!” I then sent AS to the Opportunity Room.
10/13/09 AS refused to follow instructions. He was out of his seat, wandering around the room, kicking paper balls, goofing around, and he turned off my projector. He was given a verbal warning, then moved to a seat in the back of the classroom, then given a detention, and then finally sent to the Opportunity Room.
10/14/09 During an exam today, AS absolutely refused to stop talking. He was given a verbal warning, then told to move to a seat in the back of the classroom, then given a detention, and then finally sent to the Opportunity Room. But he did not go to the Opportunity Room. He tried to hide in Ms. X’s room, and told her that I’d sent him there. I only found him there at the end of the period.
10/22/09 AS was disruptive and disrespectful. He refused to face forward in his seat, and said loudly during the lesson “this class is boring as hell, man,” and he talked loudly about smoking marijuana. He was given a verbal warning, then told to move to a seat in the back of the classroom, then given a detention, and then finally sent to the Opportunity Room.
11/11/09 AS was warned about staying in his assigned seat, but left and sat in another seat across the room. He was given a detention. He then argued and yelled. Later, he again go out of his seat and sat in another one, and was sent to the Opportunity Room. On his way out, I handed him his work, and he crumpled it and threw it on the floor.
11/20/09 AS was bullying X, and said that X was about to “get his ass beat by me”, and AS taunted him, saying “little nerd.” AS also got out of his seat during class, and broke a pencil and left it on the floor, refusing to pick it up. As we lined up to go to the bathroom, AS was again threatening X. Then later, AS began bullying Y. Y began to call my name, and got out “Mis…” before AS interrupted him: “Go ahead, tell on me. Come on, tell on me” – and pulled his fist back like he was ready to hit Y. By this point, AS absolutely needed to leave class, and I sent him to the Opportunity Room. AS said that Y had said “fuck you” to him, and Y denied this. I told AS that even if that was true, it was no excuse for his behavior. I emailed Ms. Z at 1:25 saying that AS was on his way to the Opportunity Room, but she responded at 2:03 that he never arrived there.
12/1/09 AS sat in the back of the room instead of his assigned seat, rubbed his butt on AT, and kept goofing around and cursing. He was warned multiple times, given a detention, and finally sent to the Opportunity Room.
12/2/09 AS sat in an incorrect seat, and refused to move to his assigned seat, and he persisted in talking during the lesson – until I had to send him to the Opportunity Room.
12/4/09 AS kept wandering from our line as we walked to our classroom. Once we were there, he walked out of the room. Later, he sat in the trash can, and then tipped it over so that both it and he fell on the floor. Later, he threw a pencil at X.
12/7/09 As soon as the students entered my room, they were loud and chaotic, and we were waiting to go to lunch until everyone got seating and got their uniforms tucked in. AS was a big part of this problem, as he was wandering around the room and refusing to take his seat. But as we were waiting, AS walked out of the classroom. He was given a detention for this. Then after lunch, refused to take his seat, but stood with Q trying to break two pencils (of mine?) against each other. When he finally sat down, he sat in the wrong seat, as I’ve had frequent issues with AS about, and I sent him to the Opportunity Room. He replied, “Man, fuck that,” but eventually went.
12/8/09 As I picked my class up from indoor recess, I told AS to tuck his shirt in. He kept replying dismissively, “Nope,” “I don’t have to,” etc. When we got to class, AS took an incorrect seat. When I told him to move, he talked about fighting me – in a way which was not angry or serious, but was still completely inappropriate. Then during work time, I overheard AS talking to his friends about “beating the black off” of Coach X.
12/9/09 Mr. Y related the following to me, Mr. Ivan:
Mr. Y was returning from lunch when Coach X’s substitute teacher stepped out into the hall with AS. The substitute teacher told Mr. Y that AS needed to go to the Opportunity Room, and Mr. Y began to escort AS there. As they walked, AS said, “That mother fucker won’t leave me alone. He keeps putting his hands all over me. I had a rubber band and he jerked it away.” AS also said to Mr. Y, “I’m going to kill that mother fucker.” Mr. Y said to AS that he didn’t want to be talking that way, and that could get him kicked out of school. AS responded, “I don’t care, I’m going to kill that mother fucker.” Mr. Y continued walking with AS part way toward the Opportunity Room, but then left AS to continue on alone. But AS never went to the Opportunity Room.
12/11/09 AS sat in an incorrect seat and kept refused to move to his seat. He drew on that desk, and during the lesson he was yelling out things about masturbation. Later in the lesson, he laid out across a table in the back of my room, and was rolling around on it. He also threw a Frisbee up to the front of the room while I was teaching. And he walked around the room mock-punching X and S.
12/14/09 AS sat in multiple incorrect seats and absolutely refused to move to his correct seat. He also wandered around the room mock-punching other students. He also told X, “Suck my dick, bitch.” These issues continued until I had to send AS to the Opportunity Room. Then more than twenty minutes later, I saw him walk down the hallway with our security guard.
2/9/10 Just as he did yesterday, AS refused to take his correct seat, and chose to go to the Opportunity Room instead, and then later came back to class. But today when he came back, he again refused to take the correct seat, and then he left again.
2/10/10 AS took an incorrect seat AGAIN today. He eventually moved to his seat, while angrily saying that this “fucking pisses me off.” During class he walked up to me and showed me a naked picture of an obese woman on his cell phone.
2/17/10 I had to tell AS to take off his hat at least five times. During my lesson he announced, “I drew a coochie on the table” – and he had, indeed, drawn the female anatomy on his desk. AS kept getting out of his seat. When I wouldn’t let him go into the hallway to get his hat from a student in another room, he told me that was “fucking bullshit.” He drew on the windowsill in my room. When I told AS to go to the Opportunity Room, he said it was “bullshit,” threw his pencil against the wall, and slammed the door on his way out.
3/22/10 AS was completely defiant. He refused to take his seat, sat in multiple incorrect seats, and kept loudly cursing. When I redirected him and told him to take his seat, he talked back, and taunted me: “Crybaby!”