Today Connie received a text that left her happier than any she’s received for a long time…maybe ever. It was a text from a friend who Connie had been thinking about a lot since Thursday afternoon. The news of the arrival of the text was also a great relief for the Parent Imperfect. It was news that Connie’s friend was at least feeling well enough to text. These stories are the stuff of parental nightmares. The one that follows is based almost entirely on what people have told Connie and myself…hearsay, that is.
On Thursday, some of the students that usually eat lunch with Connie were not at lunch. It seems that students at the nation’s oldest public school very quickly form into pretty stable little lunch groups, so Connie definitely noticed that members of her group were not there and she and the rest of the group wondered aloud where they were.
It seems that one of the kids had misplaced something important. Yes, there is a hideous invisible creature at the school that takes great pleasure in roaming the halls and robbing students (especially seventh graders) of their most important possessions. Said possessions then disappear, forever!
Being good friends, at least two others went with the latest victim of this creature to help her find this precious item. Given how strict the school is about students moving in the halls, I was amazed that such an expedition was possible, but Vince assures me that lunch is the one time that there is some acceptance of students moving through the halls, as long as they can give a good reason for their wanderings.
Connie doesn’t know if her friends actually found the missing item, but their search took up a good part of their 22-minute lunch period. Perhaps fearing an afternoon of gnawing hunger, one of them (Connie’s texting friend) decided to gobble down a sandwich before the bell rang. By whatever series of events, part of the sandwich apparently got caught in her throat, blocking her windpipe and creating a life-threatening emergency.
When it was clear that their friend was in serious trouble, at least one of the other kids ran to try to get help. The first person she found was Mr. X. We don’t know if Mr. X was teaching a class, preparing in his classroom or just wandering, himself, but he reacted to the message quickly and rushed to the side of Connie’s friend. It’s hard to think what would have happened had he decided to first ask the student what she was doing in the hallway. But he reacted like all of us would like to think we’d react, and did what he needed to do to dislodge the sandwich. Thankfully, he had apparently been trained to respond in such circumstances, and the training served him (and Connie’s friend) well. Somewhere in the course of events, Connie’s friend suffered injuries that required that an ambulance rush her to the hospital, but, thanks to Mr. X, she was breathing. According to Connie, Mr. X also went to the hospital to be checked out, himself. The text message mentioned above was the first thing that Connie heard from her friend, hence the joy in receiving it.
Mr. X. was back in class today. He managed to keep the class focused on a certain well-known piece of literature from the U.S. South. When asked, however, he did remark that he was very happy to have been in the right place at the right time the day before, but it was not an experience that he would ever want to live through again. This, I can understand.
I am among those who occasionally wish that some teachers at BLS would be more flexible, more understanding of their students or more compassionate in their treatment of them. I will probably feel that way again before too long. But today, I’m extremely grateful for the everyday heroism of one teacher, whom I’ve heard much about, but have yet to meet. I look forward to that meeting, which will now certainly be different than it otherwise would have been.
- Heroism 101 (dish.andrewsullivan.com)
- A School Counselor Lunch Bunch Linky Party (theschoolcounselorkind.wordpress.com)
- School Security Measures: A Quick Guide (lyonlife.net)