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 AT:
9/2/09 AT is very loud and disruptive in my class. She often yells at students who are talking or misbehaving, but does this so loudly that she herself is very disruptive. I’ve given her many warnings, taken away participation points, and given her eight detentions. Today I tried calling home, but the number above is disconnected.
10/6/09 AT has had problems lining up with our class and entering the building after recess. And she has received numerous detentions for this, and also been given many warnings, including a very explicit final warning that her next such action would earn her a Saturday School, in following Ms. X’s instructions. Then today, after the whistle had been blown to signal that it was time to line up, I saw AT, and told her to get in line. She did not, and a couple of minutes later I walked around until I saw her a long way away from my line. I yelled to her to line up. She gestured for me to wait a minute, and did not come toward our line. She never lined up with our class on the playground, and only joined us as we passed her on our way in the building. I told AT that she’d earned herself a Saturday School.
10/13/09 AT told me that Mr. X had told her she could come do her work with him in the Opportunity Room today. I called Mr. X to confirm, and he told me that he absolutely had not told AT that. AT yelled frustratedly, and said, “I hate that fuckin’ old man.” She also talked about how she was not going to do any work, and she ripped up her paper. She 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.
10/14/09 During an exam today, AT talked persistently, got out of her seat, and was goofing around and touching another scholar. She 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.
10/22/09 AT kept talking and yelling during the lesson. She 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.
10/27/09 AT persisted in talking during the lesson, refused to stop tearing up a poster she’d made for another class and do her work, kept getting out of her seat, and refused to line up when it was time for a class bathroom break. She was given a verbal warning, then told to move to the back of the room, then given a detention, and finally sent to the Opportunity Room.
11/2/09 AT refused to stop talking during the lesson. She was given a verbal warning, moved to the back of the room, given a detention, and finally sent to the Opportunity Room. She responded to this by yelling very loudly, as she often does.
11/30/09 AT was out of her assigned seat sitting in an incorrect seat. When I told her to move to the correct seat, she shoved the desks around, and said “I hate this class!” Soon after this, AT put on her coat and stood by the doorway, and kept refusing to sit down and to take her coat off. Eventually, AT did take her seat – but then I saw her doodling on the desk. I gave her paper towels, and sprayed the desk with cleaner, and AT began wiping the writing off the desk, but then threw the paper towel on the floor. When our class was lining up for a bathroom break, AT stayed seated with her head down for a long time. She finally joined the line, but then in the hallway she walked extremely slowly. When I told her to speed up to stay with the class, she yelled, “You see me walking, don’t you!” After we returned from the bathroom break, AT refused to do her work, put her coat back on, and sat in another incorrect seat. All this ridiculous behavior finally got AT sent to the Opportunity Room. But remarkably, AT argued that she had not done anything, and refused to leave the room for a while. Then she kept walking around in the hallway for at least 10 minutes.
12/1/09 AT was out of her seat, touching and bothering X and Y, goofing around with Z, and talking during the lesson. As she got warnings and a detention, she kept arguing with me, and lying about what I’d plainly seen or heard her do.
12/4/09 AT was out of her seat, and I gave her a verbal warning. She also walked into the hallway to hand a note to another student as we were trying to begin class. I talked to her about how unacceptable that was, and gave her a detention. A few minutes later, X walked into my classroom to hand AT a note. I told AT to give me the note, and she scoffed, “No, dude!” I sent her to the Opportunity Room.
12/15/09 AT solved a bunch of her math problems half-way, and then began acting very difficult. She kept asking to go to another classroom, and insisting that she knew how to complete the problems – but refusing to do so, and refusing to let me help her do so. She continued to be difficult as I took the class for a bathroom break. She sauntered very, very slowly after the line, and when I told her to catch up with us, she yelled, “You see me walking!” She did the exact same thing on our way back to the classroom, including yelling “You see me walking!,” so I sent her to the Opportunity Room.
1/6/10 AT walked out of the classroom and did not return.
1/19/10 During work time, AT and X began fighting in the back of the classroom. They were punching each other for a few seconds, and then Y grabbed X and I grabbed AT.
1/25/10 AT walked out of class with her two friend who were sent to the opportunity room.
2/9/10 AT got angry at X and just stormed out of the room.
2/22/10 AT pushed her desk way back, moving the two desks behind her. She kept refusing to move the desks back, then moved two of them just a little, and argued with me and yelled at me. I sent her to the Opportunity Room, and she yelled that she didn’t care, and on her way out she slammed the door.
2/23/10 AT pushed her desk way back, moving the two desk behind her. She kept refusing to move the desk back, then moved two of them just a little, and argued with me and yelled at me. I sent her to the Opportunity Room. And she yelled that she didn’t care, and on her way out she slammed the door.
3/4/10 AT kept refusing to line up after recess, and then inside she kept refusing to come into the classroom – earning her two of three strikes. Later, AT went to another classroom to get X’s cell phone, and then AT refuse to give the phone to me to give to Assistant Principal Y.
3/9/10 AT kept talking and talking as I tried to teach. She wasn’t whispering, but was just talking at a regular volume and COMPLETELY IGNORING my efforts at teaching, and my warnings to her. When I redirected AT she yelled at me and argued with me.